AIM LISTING PLANNED
SA PRIVATE air charter and leasing group, Norse Air, is preparing to list on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). However, a secondary listing on the JSE’s AltX might also make sense for the company, whose footprint covers the continent. Norse Air is 43% owned by Lonrho and operates primarily in South Africa and Mauritius. It also operates in Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali and Mozambique, and outside the continent in Afghanistan and Singapore.
David Lenigas, joint executive chairman and chief executive of Lonrho, says: “We will be floating the business in London by the end of the year.” The group is likely to finalise the terms of the listing by end-July. Asked if it would make sense to have a secondary listing on the JSE, Lenigas said no decision had been taken on that.
Norse Air CEO Dave Avnit said a London listing was essential because most of its business was offshore. He said there had been plans for an AIM listing even before the arrival of Lonrho as a shareholder. “The Lonrho investment has assisted in executing the listing plan. We have a common approach and objective about the growth of this business,” said Avnit.
Lenigas said the group was Listing Norse Air to bring in foreign capital to boost the growth of the business. Lonrho paid $6m (R44m) in November last year for its interest in the company after receiving South African Reserve Bank approval.
Since then, Norse Air has secured lucrative contracts with the South African National Treasury and AngloGold Ashanti.
Treasury has re-awarded a two-year contract to Norse Air for hiring aircraft and helicopters to the SA Government. The contract, which will expire in February 2009, is worth about R25m. In February, Norse Air also clinched its biggest aviation contract, worth an annual $10m (R73m), with global gold producer AngloGold Ashanti. This contract, which will boost turnover by more than 40%, will require Norse Air to supply the gold miner with a Boeing 737 Quick Change aircraft to transport passengers and cargo to the group’s mines in Ghana and Mali.
Avnit says the AngloGold Ashanti contract should push Norse Air’s annual revenue to between $35m (R258m) and $40m (R295m).
Norse Air has operated aircraft for the International Red Cross, the United Nations and the World Food Programme.