Solenta Aviation Holdings (Solenta), a commercial aviation group based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has acquired 28% of Africa‘s LCC fastjet.  fastjet has agreed to issue Solenta 95.6 million new ordinary shares, valued at $19.2 million. Solenta will have the right to enter into the three ordinary course wet-leases and other services over the next five years.

Solenta has proven experience of providing ACMI/wet-lease services in Africa and has experience and regulatory approvals in operating the Embraer aircraft to which fastjet is transitioning

fastjet also announced a proposed Placing by way of an Accelerated Book Build to raise gross proceeds of not less than $28.8 million, which is supported by the Company’s major institutional shareholders

The airline further explained that Solenta will have the right to nominate two directors to the Board of fastjet. The company also intends to further strengthen and balance the Board with additional Non-Executive Directors at the appropriate time.

Nico Bezuidenhout, Interim Chairman and CEO, commented: “Our agreement with Solenta represents a good operational and strategic fit. It provides fastjet with access to fleet and related services which, together with the funds raised through our proposed Placing, will allow us to successfully implement the final stages of our Stabilisation Plan.

African LCC fastjet recorded an operational loss increase by almost 300%, year over year, as presented in the unaudited Interim Results for the first six months of 2016.

We have made good progress with the Plan and the near-term priority continues to be to fully stabilise the business and to reach cash flow break even by the fourth quarter of this year. As well as helping us to achieve this objective, the fundraising and Solenta Agreement will also provide the platform from which to flexibly and cost-effectively pursue fastjet’s medium to long-term objective of becoming the first truly pan-African low-cost airline.”

Solenta currently operates 49 aircraft under 5 of its own African AOCs and has strategic alliances, or AOCs pending, in a further 7 African countries.