Indian budget carrier GoAir plans IPO to raise $491mln

A second wave of COVID-19 infections in India is taking a heavy toll on domestic airlines, which were taking initial steps back towards normality after a nationwide lockdown hampered their operations for months in 2020

  
The logo of GoAir airline is pictured on an A320neo aircraft at the builder's headquarters of Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 15, 2019.

The logo of GoAir airline is pictured on an A320neo aircraft at the builder's headquarters of Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 15, 2019.

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Indian budget carrier Go Airlines Ltd has filed for an initial public offering aiming to raise 36 billion rupees ($491 million), a move that comes as airlines try to bolster finances to cope with the latest disruptions caused by the pandemic.

A second wave of COVID-19 infections in India is taking a heavy toll on domestic airlines, which were taking initial steps back towards normality after a nationwide lockdown hampered their operations for months in 2020.

The company, which is in the process of rebranding itself as "Go First", plans to use the money raised from the IPO to repay loans, which total more than 20 billion rupees, and clear other dues, it said in a filing.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on our business ... the duration and spread of the pandemic or another pandemic could result in additional adverse impact on our business," Go Airlines said in the filing.

The airline has a current fleet of 55 Airbus narrow body planes and is due to take delivery of 98 more starting this year.

The airline's founder and majority owner is the Wadia group, which runs textiles company Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Co Ltd and biscuit maker Britannia Industries.

The company's share offering may also include an additional share issue worth up to 15 billion rupees, the filing said.

India's airlines are under renewed pressure to raise cash or take steps to downsize or consolidate. They are expected to report total losses of $4 to $4.5 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31 and may lose a similar amount this year, aviation consultancy CAPA India said. 

Go Airlines has said it planned to move towards being an ultra-low-cost carrier, which would typically offer no-frills travel at rock-bottom fares, while charging extra for bags.

The group in March promoted industry veteran and former CEO of U.S. carrier Spirit Airlines Ben Baldanza to vice chairman from director. Baldanza lead the repositioning of Spirit as an ultra-low-cost carrier and took the airline public in 2011.

ICICI Securities, Citigroup Global Markets India and Morgan Stanley India are the lead bookrunning managers for the IPO to list on Indian stock exchanges.

($1 = 73.3490 Indian rupees)

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