Thailand's Nok Air steps closer to IPO

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Thai budget carrier Nok Air has moved a step closer towards an initial public offering (IPO), with the board of major shareholder Thai Airways International agreeing to list the company.

In a statement released following its 16 November board meeting, Thai says its directors have agreed to "increase amount of the shares held in Nok Air [Company Limited] and for Nok Air to be registered on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in order for it to have sufficient capital to acquire more aircraft for network expansion and to boost competitiveness".

Thai has not given a timeline for the listing of the budget carrier nor how much it is planning to raise from the IPO.

The airline also says the board approved new strategic positioning for Nok Air, Thai Smile and Thai Airways.

This will result in Nok Air being positioned as a regional low-cost carrier, which offers point-to-point services, based at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport with narrowbody and smaller aircraft.

Thai will be positioned as the group's premium full-service carrier that operates widebody aircraft, while Thai Smile will operate narrowbody aircraft to provide connecting services to Thai. Both carriers are to be based at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.