Carlyle Group acquires majority stakes of Trans Maldivian Airways

Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane | Photo: TMA

Male’, Maldives – Majority stakes of the world’s largest seaplane operator, Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) have been acquired by American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation, the Carlyle Group.

The Majority of TMA was owned by America’s Bain Capital and China’s Tempus group since it paid over $500 million in a leveraged buyout deal to acquire the airline from Blackstone Group Inc. However, as the two companies failed to pay back the loan on time, the majority of TMA has been sold to Carlyle.

“TMA is an operationally strong business with an experienced management team and clear competitive advantages. We are pleased to provide the strategic capital and expertise the company needs to return to growth,” said Christian Schmitz, Managing Director, Carlyle Global Credit.

As vaccines continue to be rolled out globally, we expect travel to return to pre-pandemic levels in the Maldives, which remains one of [the] most attractive vacation destinations in the world.

Christian Schmitz, Managing Director, Carlyle Global Credit

While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, familiar sources of the matter inform that Carlyle took majority ownership of TMA from Bain in exchange for agreeing to restructure the airline’s outstanding debt of about $300 million.

Carlyle informed that the current management team of TMA will not be changed, however, a newly reconstituted board will include Lars Erik Nielsen, one of the airline’s founders. Managing Director of Carlyle, Ian Jackson stated that the company anticipates the vocational rollout to help normalize the flights in the Maldives by sometime during 2022.

Established in 1993, TMA has grown rapidly over the years from having only two aircrafts at the beginning to help in transferring over 500,000 passengers per year. It is the oldest air services operator in the Maldives and has grown to become the largest seaplane operator in the world. TMA has also won the “World’s Leading Sea-Plane Operator” award continuously since the year 2014.