A great fire sale of Sri Lankan assets could be about to begin
Colombo will not have it easy privatizing state-run organizations
Sri Lanka has a habit of selling off its assets when times are tough. And it doesn’t get much tougher than this. The island nation is in default and in desperate need of $4 billion to pay for food, fuel and fertilizer to stave off a deeper crisis. The newly appointed prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe—his sixth time in the job —wasted no time in announcing the government would privatize Sri Lankan Airlines. The national carrier struggled with a stretched balance sheet even before covid and may fail to make payments to aircraft lessors, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts wrote last month. It had lost $125 million in the year through March 2021 and will likely struggle to find a buyer willing to take it on.