Jazeera Airways files for KSE listing
The first private airline in the Middle East, Jazeera Airways (Kuwait Public Shareholding Company - KSC), has officially submitted its application for listing to the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), and has appointed NBK Capital as financial advisors for the listing.
NBK Capital is the investment and merchant banking subsidiary of National Bank of Kuwait, the region’s highest rated bank.
The airline raised 70% of KD 10 million (USD 34 million) initial capital through an upfront IPO in 2004 and was oversubscribed 12 times within a subscription period of ten days; creating a shareholder base of over 36,000 investors. Today, one in every 25 Kuwaitis is a shareholder in Jazeera Airways. The other 30% was raised by a group of investors prior to the IPO. The airline remains as the only operating international Middle Eastern airline that is neither owned nor subsidized by any government.
On October 30th, 2005, fifteen months after the IPO, the airline launched flights to five destinations with two brand new Airbus A320s.
Since then, Jazeera Airways has grown its network to 20 destinations across the Middle East, North Africa and India operating from two main hubs in Kuwait and Dubai. It has also grown its fleet to five brand new Airbus A320s, increased its confirmed order for Airbus A320s from four to ten and its options from four to six.
Jazeera Airways Chairman and CEO Marwan Boodai said: “KSE is one of the leading bourses in the Middle East with the second highest capitalization. Listing Jazeera Airways on the KSE is an important step in our long-term plans to build value for our shareholders. The application process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks; therefore we look forward to list in the second quarter of 2007.”
NBK Capital Board Member and CEO George Nasra said: “We are pleased to be the financial advisors to Jazeera Airways, the region’s first private airline, with an impressive record of rapid growth and customer’s satisfaction. We are excited to be part of such a momentous stride in the Airline’s history”.
The airlines’ move to list was approved by its shareholders during the first Annual General Meeting in September, 2006. The shareholders also approved the increase in the company's capital by 100 per cent to KD 20 million (USD 68 Million), which will be generated through a rights issue to the existing 36,000 shareholders before the listing. Jazeera Airways intends to fund general working capital needs and expenditure, such as expanding its fleet of Airbus A320s with the capital expansion proceeds.
Jazeera Airways has carried over 850,000 travelers to over 20 destinations to date. Its combination of added capacity, attractive fares and ongoing marketing has stimulated traffic to most of its destinations, such as Amman, Beirut, and Damascus to growth levels the industry has not witnessed in years.
With recently introduced flights to Cyprus, Sharm El Sheikh, Muscat, Salalah, Tehran, Shiraz and increased frequency to Alexandria, Amman, and, Aleppo, Jazeera Airways now serves some of the most popular destinations in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Sub Continent.
© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)