Viva Aerobus Delays $226 Airline Mexico IPO on Market Volatility

Grupo Viva Aerobus SAB (VIVACPO), Mexico’s fourth-largest airline, delayed its 3 billion peso ($226 million) initial public offering because of market volatility.

The Mexico City-based company said in an e-mailed statement today that it will continue to look for other opportunities to go public. The airline had been meeting with investors for the past two weeks and was planning to set a price for the deal today. The shares would have started trading on the Mexican stock exchange tomorrow, according to a filing.

“While we received significant interest from potential investors, the continued market volatility is not an optimal condition for an IPO,” Chief Executive Officer Juan Carlos Zuazua said in the statement.

Viva Aerobus joined Office Depot de Mexico SAB, Mexico’s largest office-supply store, in postponing its market debut this year amid a slump in emerging-market stocks. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has lost 3.1 percent since Viva Aerobus made its IPO plans public on Jan. 16. Office Depot de Mexico shelved its offering on Feb. 5.

Controladora Vuela Cia. de Aviacion SAB, the Mexican airline known as Volaris (VOLARA), gained 17 percent last year after selling shares to the public in September, before slumping 18 percent this year.

“The current market conditions are very different from when Volaris came to market,” Javier Romo of the Mexico City-based financial-analysis firm Signum Research, said in a telephone interview.

Bus Riders

The 3 billion-peso transaction value was based on the mid-point of the airline’s estimated pricing range of 21 pesos to 25 peso per share. Barclays Plc had been hired to lead the offering along with Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB and HSBC Holdings Plc.

Viva Aerobus provides 49 routes around Mexico and one to Houston, Texas, at prices the company says are designed to attract customers who would normally take the bus, according to an investor presentation posted on the stock exchange website.

Excluding a-la-carte services like checked baggage and in-flight snacks, its prices match or beat leading bus companies on routes such as Mexico City-Monterrey, the presentation showed.

As of the filing date, Viva Aerobus was 46.1 percent owned owned by Irelandia Aviation, the investment vehicle led by Declan Ryan, a founder of Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA), Europe’s largest discount carrier. Inversionistas en Autotransportes Mexicanos SA, the Mexican bus company known as IAMSA, had a 46.1 percent stake.

About 21 percent of the shares sold in the offering would have come from the hands of existing investors. Proceeds from newly created shares were supposed to help Viva Aerobus expand its fleet and pay off loans.

In October, Viva Aerobus agreed to buy 52 Airbus Group NV A320 jets with a list value of $5.1 billion to replace its fleet of Boeing Co. 737-300 aircraft. The airline said the new planes would boost its fuel efficiency by 30 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Levin in Mexico City at jlevin20@bloomberg.net; Brendan Case in Mexico City at bcase4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Walsh at bwalsh8@bloomberg.net

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