The Executive Privatisation Commission (EPC) has shortlisted five financial advisers for the contract to provide consultancy advice on the privatisation of flag-carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ). Bidders include HSBC, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. An award is expected to be made in September (MEED 8:7:05).

The EPC is also planning to appoint legal and technical consultants on the planned privatisation, for which the World Bank carried out a financial study. ?We have set next year as the date to privatise the core business of RJ,? EPC chairman Mohamed Abu Hammour told MEED in early July.

The restructuring of RJ began in October 1998. Law 31 of 2000 supported the transformation of the carrier into a public shareholding company and RJ was formally registered in February 2001 with a capital of JD 40 million ($56.4 million).

Between 2000-05, RJ?s non-core assets were separated from the parent company and turned into individual private companies, including Jordan Airline Training & Simulation (JATS); Jordan Airports Duty Free Shops, which was sold to Spain?s Aldeasa in 2000; Jordan Flight Catering Company, sold in the same year to the UK?s Alpha Flight Services with RJ keeping a 20 per cent stake; Jordan Airmotive Limited Company (Jalco); and Jordan Aircraft Maintenance (Joramco), 80 per cent of which was sold to Dubai-based Abraaj Capital in January, with RJ again retaining 20 per cent.

In April, RJ posted full-year 2005 net profits of JD 21.7 million ($30.8 million), with total revenues climbing by 12 per cent to JD 387 million ($550 million). Total passenger numbers increased by 4.9 per cent to 1.8 million.

Under its fleet renewal plan, RJ will take delivery in October of seven Embraer 195s from Brazil?s Embraer. Four will be acquired directly from the Brazilian firm ,while the remaining three will be leased from the US? GE Commercial Aviation Services.

RJ also has plans to take six new A320s and A321s on an operating lease from Europe?s Airbus, four of which have already joined the fleet. Last October, the airline purchased two Q400 turboprops from Canada?s Bombardier (MEED 7:4:05).