India's largest privately owned airline, Jet Airways, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) early in 2005 as it seeks to raise cash to help it expand in the face of new domestic challengers and boost international operations.
The airline, wholly owned by a company controlled by chairman Naresh Goyal, says around 40% is expected to be sold in the IPO, which could take place in March or April. Jet has long considered an IPO, although it has also said it is only one option that it could pursue to raise funds, another being a private placement. Jet's move to revive IPO efforts comes after Delhi recently lifted the foreign ownership limits on Indian airlines to 49% from 40%
Several new domestic competitors are planned in India which aim to launch in 2005, most of them following the no-frills model adopted by growing Air Deccan, which is now operating on local trunk routes. Established full-service competitor Air Sahara has also been growing rapidly.