Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said Tuesday that the airline could launch an IPO (initial public offering) this year.
Speaking Tuesday at a conference marking the opening of Doha's new $85-million (Dh311 million) departure terminal, Al Baker said without mentioning a time-frame the carrier could go for the share sale as early as this year.
"It could be this year, it could be next year, it could be the year after. But it will definitely be earlier than people expect," he said, adding that the airline had appointed advisers for the same, but declined to name them. He was reiterating his statement given to Gulf News in May during the Arabian Travel Market, when he said IPO launch could take place "earlier than expected".
"When we are continuously three years into profit, we will go for an IPO and we are very much on that track and maybe we will give you good news earlier than that," he had said.
In April, Al Baker said that the Doha-based carrier was considering a dual listing in 2013 or 2014 on the London and Doha exchanges. The airline, which operates 25 Boeing 777s, signed a $1.3-billion contract in April with the US planemaker to purchase five more 777 aircraft.
According to industry analyst Saj Ahmad of UK-based FBE Aerospace, the airline could be estimated to be valued at $3.5 billion-$4 billion.
"Qatar Airways could be worth some $3.5 billion-$4 billion altogether. In contrast, the much bigger British Airways with triple the fleet size of Qatar Airways is worth only around $3.5 billion, but they possess far older airplanes [and other net assets]," he told Gulf News, adding that the IPO will give the Doha carrier a quick sharp boost to liquidity and top up its cash coffers.
"Overall, the net effect of an IPO may just trigger Etihad into following suit maybe not straightaway, but they are far more likely to follow Qatar Airways than is Emirates," Ahmad pointed out. In line with its aggressive cargo strategy, Qatar Airways' chief said yesterday it plans to convert around 20 Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into cargo planes.
From / Gulf News