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Wed 10 Oct 2007 12:40 PM

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Jazeera Airways to double capital

Kuwaiti budget airline set to boost capital to $71mn through shares subscription in a bid to fund expansion.

Jazeera Airways is set to boost double its capital to 20 million Kuwaiti dinars ($71.4 million) through shares' subscription in a bid to finance expansion.

Kuwait's first private budget airline will make a rights issue open only to the airline's 36,500 shareholders, with the subscription period running from October 21 to November 1, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

"The capital increase gives us the opportunity to fund the airline's planned expansion and grow our operations and enter new markets across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent," said Jazeera Airways Chairman and CEO, Marwan Boodai.

Shareholders looking to subscribe are required to apply at National Bank of Kuwait's (NBK) branches - the official lead manager for the rights issue.

Jazeera Airways' move comes following significant growth over the last two years, with the airline raking in a profit of 2.5 million dinars ($8.9 million) in its first full operational year last year.

The airline last June bolstered its fleet of aircraft by boosting its order from 10 Airbus A320s to 40 A320s, making it the largest A320 operator in the Middle East.

It has also launched a second hub in Dubai and 23 new destinations including the Maldives, Beirut, Alexandria, Cyprus, Delhi, Jeddah, and Mumbai.

The company is the only international airline in the Middle East that is neither owned nor subsidized by any government.

It was established in May 2004 with a capital of $34 million, 30% of which is owned by a group of core founders while the rest was sold in a public offering.

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