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UTair Plans Overseas Stock Offer Raising as Much as $350 Million

UTair Aviation, the Russian airline and helicopter company controlled by the nation’s fourth-largest oil producer, will seek to raise as much as $350 million in an overseas stock offering in 2013 to finance new route costs and plane purchases, Chief Financial Officer Igor Petrov said.

The company is trying to win approval for the plan from its controlling shareholder OAO Surgutneftegas, which owns 60.7 percent of UTair, Petrov said in a telephone interview from Moscow today. UTair expects to choose an adviser for the overseas placement by the end of the first quarter, he said.

“We are poised to grow further and need money to expand,” Petrov said. “We are adding routes within the country and want to fly more abroad and we are expanding our helicopter business as demand for our services is on the rise.”

UTair may also consider selling a stake in a private placement, he said. The company is planning to purchase 88 planes, including 20 from Airbus SAS and 40 from Boeing Co., as well as 103 helicopters by 2017 as it upgrades its fleet, Petrov said.

The United Nations is UTair’s biggest customer for international helicopter services, while Russia’s oil and gas industry is the largest for domestic use, according to Petrov. The company recorded a 33 percent jump in air passengers on domestic flights from January through October this year, compared with a 13 percent increase for the industry in the same period, he said.

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