Carlyle Group, a US investment firm, has bought a controlling share in Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA), the world’s largest seaplane operator from US-based Bain Capital.
In 2017, Bain Capital and China’s Tempus Group entered into a leveraged buyout agreement with Blackstone Group to acquire TMA for more than USD 500 million (MVR 7 billion). The two firms had been negotiating debt relief with Carlyle and its other creditors after TMA grounded most of its fleet last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with Carlyle, lenders such as hedge fund managers King Street Capital Management and Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP invested in TMA.
TMA said today that Carlyle and Davidson Kempner had purchased a controlling share in the company as part of a debt restructuring agreement. The company also stated that a newly reconstructed board will include one of the airline’s founders, Lars Erik Nielsen, and that the current management team will stay in place.
Carlyle’s acquisition of TMA was handled by the private equity firm’s global credit unit, which manages USD 59 billion in assets.
TMA is the world’s largest seaplane operator, with 56 planes flying between Velana International Airport and resorts in the Maldives.