Air Astana, Central Asia's largest airline by market share, has announced its plans to raise $120 million through an initial public offering (IPO) and list its shares on the London and Kazakhstan stock exchanges. The offering will include the sale of shares and global depositary receipts (GDRs) held by BAE Systems (Kazakhstan) and sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna (SK). Each GDR represents four shares.

Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund SK currently holds a 51% stake in Air Astana, while BAE Systems holds the remaining 49%. The company expects the IPO to accelerate its growth strategy and open up new opportunities for expansion into new geographic areas. President and Chief Executive Peter Foster stated, "We see significant opportunities to thicken our existing routes and expand into new geographic areas, supported by our continued fleet expansion plan and initiatives to increase operational flexibility."

The IPO is expected to comprise a domestic and global offer of GDRs, the issuance of new shares to raise approximately $120 million, and the sale of existing shares and GDRs by SK and BAE. Bookbuilding, including a price range announcement, will commence at the end of January.

For the nine months ended September 30, Air Astana reported total revenue of $900.6 million, an increase from $747.2 million in the previous year. Pretax profit also rose from $78.0 million to $90.0 million. The company currently operates a fleet of 49 aircraft and carried around 6.0 million passengers over 41,000 flights in the first nine months of 2022.

Shares in BAE were up 1.5% at 1,180.5 pence as of 0814 GMT.

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