Ex-Ryanair boss targets Brazil's low-fare market
AN airline linked to former Ryanair executive Charlie Clifton is preparing for a $500m (€365m) flotation in Brazil in a bid to emulate the success of Ryanair across the South American country.
Local reports confirm that Webjet, which counts Mr Clifton as a director and full-time adviser, will mount its Initial Public Offering in late March.
Mr Clifton is best known for a 16-year stint at Ryanair, where he was the sixth employee hired and rose to the position of operations director before he stepped down in 2002.
Mr Clifton was also behind failed US airline Skybus and he owns a stake in US low-cost carrier Tiger Airways, which also counts the family of the late Ryanair founder Tony Ryan as shareholders.
Documents lodged with the Brazilian stock exchange show that Webjet became profit-making in 2010 after undergoing a Ryanair-style cost-cutting transformation.
The airline is hoping to raise cash from international institutional investors, particularly those who have taken stakes in other low-cost carriers.
Local reports that Ryanair has agreed to take a stake in the Brazilian venture are understood to be entirely unfounded.