Smartwings (Czechia) (QS, Prague Václav Havel) has become a fully Czech-owned company after Chinese state-owned CITIC Group sold its stake to local company Prague City Air, the airline confirmed to ch-aviation.

“On 20th February 2024, the purchase of 49.92% shares in Smartwings a.s. was finalised between the company Prague City Air s.r.o. as the purchaser and the company Rainbow Wisdom Investment Limited as the seller,” Smartwings spokeswoman Vladimíra Dufková said. She added that the carrier “thus returns back under the full control of Czech shareholders who now own 100% shares in both Smartwings and CSA Czech Airlines.”

The announcement comes after Israir (6H, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) opted to suspend talks to purchase the 49.92% stake from the Chinese investor because of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, a filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange showed earlier this month. Israir valued the deal in 2022 at around EUR44 million euros (USD47 million). Smartwings and Prague City Air agreed not to disclose the purchase price of their own transaction.

The Chinese company acquired its stake in Smartwings back in 2016. The initial investor was CEFC Group but its stake was later taken over by CITIC Group after CEFC went bankrupt.

Prague City Air also owns a 70% stake in Czech flag carrier CSA, with the other 30% owned by Smartwings. The majority shareholder of CSA was founded in 2022 by Smartwings Group owners Jiří Šimáně and Roman Vik and shortly thereafter became a new investor in the company that also provided CSA with a loan of CZK125 million koruny (USD5.6 million) to repay creditors during its restructuring efforts. Companies controlled by Šimáně and Vik own the other 50.08% or Smartwings.