Wilderness Safaris has announced it has formally withdrawn its Expression of Interest (EOI) in the privatization of Air Botswana (BP, Gaborone) a week after it was named the preferred bidder by the airline's owner, the Botswana government.

"... after careful deliberation, the Company has decided to not pursue the matter any further. Accordingly, the Company has withdrawn its Expression of Interest and has advised the Government of its decision," the Botswana-based ecotourism specialist said in a disclosure to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

A report in the Southern African state's press last week indicated that aside from Wilderness Safaris, the only other firm to have made government's shortlist was Comair (South Africa) (MN, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo). It is currently uncertain whether the South African operator will automatically become the next preferred bidder in the tender process.