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Latin American bidders vie for Portuguese flag carrier in privatization

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LISBON, Portugal — The Portuguese government says it will hold talks with two Latin American airline operators to decide which of the two will be sold a 61 percent stake in state-owned flag carrier TAP Air Portugal.

The government said in a statement Thursday that bids from David Neeleman, who founded Brazil's third-largest airline Azul, and from German Efromovich, owner of Colombia's Avianca, met the technical and financial requirements of the privatization. No price was given.

A third bid, from a Portuguese businessman, was excluded.

The government has said it hopes to complete the sale by the end of June though the deal would still need regulators' consent, which could take several months.

A 2012 attempt to sell the debt-heavy airline collapsed after Efromovich, the sole bidder, failed to provide required financial guarantees.

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