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NAS Air plans $2 billion IPO

Dubai, November 14, 2007

Saudi Arabia's National Air Services said on Wednesday it plans to sell 30 percent of its shares in an initial public offering.

The IPO, to be issued next year, will be valued at about $2 billion next year and it will help finance aircraft purchases.

"We are eyeing by mid-2008 to launch an IPO listed on the Tadawul," company President Taher Agueel told reporters at an air show in Dubai. "Initial valuation of the company is $2 billion."    

Tadawul is the Arabic name for the Saudi stock exchange.

NAS operates a luxury airline called Al Khayala, low-cost carrier NASair, and a private aviation service that rents and offers part ownerships of jets in the Gulf Arab region.

The company confirmed a $1.3 billion order for 20 single-aisle A320 aircraft at the Dubai air show this week.

NAS said it also plans to borrow to finance aircraft purchases over over $4 billion in the next five years to increase its fleet to 167 by 2012.

"We are in final negotiations with a local bank which is supported by an international institution to provide financial services for us," Agueel said, declining to name the bank.

Manufacturers reported orders worth around $85 billion at the air show, mostly from Gulf Arab carriers. NAS is latest regional airline to say it is considering an IPO to finance expansion.

Dubai-based Emirates, the largest Arab airline, intends to sell as much as 30 percent of its shares to the public, the airline's chairman said on Tuesday. Any such sale would value the carrier up to $30 billion, its president said last month.

Bahrain-based Gulf Air said it is considering an IPO and United Arab Emirates-based Air Arabia, raised $700 million this year in the first IPO by an Arab airline.

Air Arabia, a low-cost carrier, ordered 34 single-aisle Airbus aircraft last week with options for 15 more in a deal worth $3.5 billion to expand its fleet and tap growing demand for air travel in the Middle East. - Reuters




Tags: IPO | Saudi Arabia | Nas air |

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