Russian fighter manufacturer Irkut is planning an initial public offering (IPO)on the London stock exchange next year as part of plans to raise $200 million.

The company, which builds the Sukhoi Su-27/30 multirole fighter, will raise up to $100 million in a Eurobond issue in the second half of 2004, reports the Moscow Times newspaper.

The IPO may take place earlier and be used by the company to raise another $100 million. Irkut vice-president Sergei Tsivilyov is quoted as saying this is about 20% of the company's value. The final value of the bond issue will be determined next year after Russian presidential elections in March, says Tsivilyov.

The company is seeking a Russian bank to support its fundraising activities. Once a Russian institution is picked, a Western bank will be sought, says Tsivilyov.

Irkut's main revenue stream in recent years has been the production of Su-30MKIs for India, manufactured at the IAPO factory in Irkutsk, Siberia. Sukhoi owns about 15% of Irkut. The company is also one of the participants in the Indian/Russian Ilyushin Il-214/Medium Transport Aircraft with the design bureau and India's Hindustan Aeronautics.

It has also been active in the rationalisation of the Russian aerospace industry, acquiring Russian Avionics and Itela in 2001 and a controlling stake in Beriev last year.

Source: Flight International