Last Update: at 11:23

State is majority owner

Portugal buys out David Neeleman at TAP

The government of Portugal has prevented a forced nationalisation of the national airline, but ownd 72.5 percent of TAP again. Shareholder David Neeleman exits. With him goes CEO Antonoaldo Neves.

Tis Meyer/

Tap aircraft: The state once again has the majority of shares.

A dispute between the government and one of the two private shareholders could have led to Tap being forcibly nationalised. David Neeleman and the Portuguese entrepreneur Humberto Pedrosa owned 45 percent of the Portuguese national airline through their company Atlantic Gateway. But the former did not want to give up the money TAP owed him for services rendered. This waiver was a prerequisite for a state loan of 1.2 billion euros to the airline.

However, forced nationalization did not take place. The government reached an agreement with Neeleman on Thursday (July, 3). He will sell his 22.5 percent share in TAP held via Atlantic Gateway – for 55 million euros. The state will thus hold 72.5 percent of the shares in the future. Pedrosa remains on board as a minority shareholder with 22.5 percent, while the employees continue to hold 5 percent.

Tap gets new CEO

With the farewell of Neeleman, the time of Antonoaldo Neves at the head of TAP also ends. He was the representative of the Brazilian-American entrepreneur. The government does not want him on board anymore. He will leave the company «very soon», they say. They are now looking for a successor on the international front, according to the government.

As Lisbon further explained, she does not want to interfere in TAP’s daily business. The airline is to be run like a private company.

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