Interjet revives plans for public offering

San Antonio
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Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet is restarting efforts to launch a public offering with the plan to go to market at the end of this year or early in 2014, says Alejandro Beristain Mercado, chief financial officer of the carrier, speaking at the Airline Business-organised Network USA conference in San Antonio.

"We are now talking to some banks to accelerate our IPO (initial public offering)," he says. The IPO will take place in the local market and possibly feature a New York listing.

Privately-held Interjet was going to launch an IPO two years ago but postponed those plans because of the global financial crisis. "Our first intent was an IPO in 2011, but it was not the right time," says Beristain.

"The target is to raise approximately $300 million in the primary offering," he explains. This represents about a quarter of the value of the company.

The timing of the IPO is important as analysts will want evidence of the success of its new fleet strategy. In May the carrier is scheduled to take delivery of the first of 20 new Russian-built SuperJet SSJ100 93-seat twinjets.

"One of the main issues is what happens with our regional project. We need to show to the market over a period of six months the operation of the SuperJet," says Beristain.

Interjet boosted its revenues by 36% in 2012 to $803 million. It had an operating profit up by 34% to $181 million. However, net profit fell by 21% to $41 million because of a larger tax burden and foreign exchange losses. It has been profitable at the net level since 2009, says Beristain.

The carrier, which started operations in late 2005, currently operates 37 Airbus A320s and carried 7.2 million passengers in 2012.