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AIR ASTANA says I want your funds

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  • AIR ASTANA says I want your funds

    Air Astana aims to raise $60-80m from flotation
    By David Kaminski-Morrow

    Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is expecting to float part of its share capital on the financial markets within the next 18 months in order to raise funds for investment in maintenance, catering and other facilities.

    The carrier estimates that it needs $60-80 million to create additional maintenance areas, improve catering operations in cities such as Almaty, Astana and Atyrau, and possibly establish an aviation school.

    Although the size of the stake to be sold has yet to be determined, Air Astana president Peter Foster, speaking to ATI at the airline’s headquarters in Almaty, said: “You can’t really do a listing with less than 30%.”

    Air Astana was established as a 50:50 joint venture between the Kazakh Government and BAE Systems, with capital of $17 million, although in late 2002 the ownership structure was adjusted to 51:49 in favour of the Government to satisfy requirements over effective control.

    Foster claims that, given the current value of the company, raising $60 million will not represent a “significant dilution” to the shareholders.

    Air Astana would probably list its shares on the local trading floor, the Regional Financial Centre of Almaty, although Foster says the company could also choose to list part of its stock in London as well.

    The carrier, which started services in 2002, has been profitable since its first year of operations and last year generated a post-tax profit of $32 million from revenues of $367 million. This year revenues are forecast to climb by 46% and profits by 37%.

    Last year it transported 1.47 million passengers and the airline expects this figure to rise to more than 2 million this year.

    Source: Air Transport Intelligence news
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