Flybe floats, BA strikes back

Budget airline Flybe has been cleared for flotation, while big brother BA is bracing itself for more strikes...

by Dave Waller

Flybe is Europe's largest regional airline, and is set to be valued at around £200m in the long-awaited flotation, which is going ahead despite the turbulent conditions in the eurozone. Good on it.

The Exeter-based carrier said it expected to raise about £60m through an initial public offering of new shares in December, assuming the market plays ball. Once off the ground, half the proceeds could help fund its programme to buy more planes, while the other half could give it the flexibility to pursue growth opportunities - including acquisitions.

It’s good to see a company pursuing such an upward trajectory in a sector that’s more used to bumpier rides. Even BA saw Flybe’s green light as reason for rare cheer: chief exec Willie Walsh said the flag carrier was ‘delighted’ to participate in the IPO. BA owns 15% of Flybe and will subscribe for enough shares in the IPO to maintain its percentage holding in the company.

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