Wizz Air, the Hungarian budget airline that dominates the skies of Eastern Europe, has resurrected plans to climb aboard the London Stock Exchange. It had intended to float last June but bailed out because of market turbulence and the sky-high price of oil. Just eight months later the picture looks very different – the price of oil has more than halved since then and airline shares have soared as a result.
Wizz has continued to grow since, with revenue in the nine months to December up 22% and passenger numbers up 18%. The float is expected to take place in the next couple of months and will aim to raise €150m (£112m), €50m less than was planned back in June.
‘We believe that Wizz Air represents an attractive opportunity to invest in the expected growth in the Central and Eastern European air travel markets where a combination of deregulation, above average GDP growth, a growing middle class and supportive migration trends in an area with a large population is expected to drive higher propensity to air travel and higher LCC [low-cost carrier] penetration,’ said the Airline’s chief exec József Váradi, who seemingly has no need to pause for breath.
Wizz controls 38% of its core Central and Eastern European markets and has also boosted its number of routes outside the EU recently to destinations in North Africa, the Caucusus and the Middle East. Pending a successful float, perhaps its eyes could swivel westwards with a view to take on the likes of Ryanair, EasyJet and Vueling?