China firm eyes stake in Maldives seaplane operator
China's firm Zongshen Industrial Group (ZIG) plans to purchase a stake in the biggest seaplane airline in the Maldives, Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).
According to Xinhua, Chairman Zuo Zongshen said negotiations were currently underway to acquire a stake in TMA in an expansion aimed at becoming the world's largest operator of commercial amphibious aircrafts. He also stated that if approved, ZIG is to spend "billions of yuan" on the purchase this year.
TMA operates an all-amphibian fleet of one DHC-6-100, one DHC-6-200, thirty-nine DHC-6-300s, and three DHC-6-400s on regular flights throughout the Maldivian archipelago.
After acquiring controlling stakes in two Maldives-based seaplane operators in 2013 and merging them under the brand name TMA, Blackstone, a US venture capital firm controls the carrier previously known as Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways.
Chairman Zuo also confirmed that they are in talks with a Washington-based operator Kenmore Air to acquire a shareholding.
Zongshen Industrial Group Co. Ltd. is a diversified investment holding group, engaging in industrial equipment manufacturing, real estate, automobile sales, financial, and mining businesses. It also engages in the development of commercial and residential, education industry, automobile and motorcycle industrial chain aftermarket, elderly care and rehabilitation, and financial and international exchange and cooperation complexes.