The Sri Lankan government has called for expressions of interest in the privatization of oneworld member SriLankan Airlines and its low-cost subsidiary, Mihin Lanka.

An advert, titled “invitation for expression of interest for the reorientation of SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka,” has been placed in print publications by National Savings Bank subsidiary NSB Fund Management, which is managing the process.

It specified that the purpose of the process is to find a strategic investor for the “reorientation” of the two airlines. The exact stake that will be up for sale is unclear, although it has been suggested it could be around 40%.

NSB Fund Management said further information—including a summary of the transaction, key investment highlights and requirements—were available on request until July 27.

Would-be investors have to pay a non-refundable fee of $5,000 to access the documentation and they have until 1600 Sri Lankan time on Aug. 24 to submit their expression of interest.

The Sri Lankan government has appointed BNP Paribas and KPMG as its financial advisors for the transaction.

Earlier this year, the government said it was considering an equity buy-in from another airline and possible aircraft order cancellations to stem ongoing losses at the national carrier. This was followed by some network cuts.

SriLankan Airlines has been facing increased competition, especially from Gulf carriers, but it has signed new, “promising” codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. In the future, SriLankan plans to connect to Frankfurt and Paris via Abu Dhabi and Doha.

Emirates acquired a 40% stake in SriLankan for $70 million in 1998 and increased its shareholding to 43.6%, with the government holding a 51% majority. But the partners hit troubles in 2008, triggering the government buy-back in 2010.

Victoria Moores, Victoria.moores@penton.com