Saudia sees catering unit IPO approval in May

Proposal set to get thumbs up from markets regulatory authority, says airline
Saudia sees catering unit IPO approval in May
Saudi Arabian Airlines
By Reuters
Mon 30 Apr 2012 07:13 PM

Saudi Arabian Airlines' much-delayed initial public offering for its catering unit should get approval from the regulators in May, it said on Monday.

"The proposal is with the markets regulatory authority... I believe we should get the approval within one month," said spokesman Abdullah al-Ajhar on the sidelines of a travel conference in Dubai.

The IPO, which analysts estimate to be worth between $400-$540m, was initially planned for the third quarter of 2010 and was postponed to the end of last year, awaiting regulatory approval.

The Saudi national carrier started a process of privatisation in 2006 by dividing the company into six units -- catering, cargo, maintenance, airlines, flight academy and ground handling.

It plans to privatise each of these units individually and offer shares to the public.

The catering unit was the first to be privatised through private placement in 2008. It is now awaiting regulatory approval to float 30 percent of the company. French bank Credit Agricole is advising on the IPO.

The airline is also looking to purchase another 35 to 50 aircraft to serve the domestic growth, Ajhar said, adding that the Airbus A320neo narrowbody jet is one of those being considered.

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