Thursday 18 January 2018

Ryan hires Barclays for Mexican low-cost airline take off

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Declan Ryan's low-cost Mexican airline, VivaAerobus, is believed to have hired investment bank Barclays as it taxis towards a €100m-plus IPO on Mexican stock markets.

Ryan's investment firm, Irelandia, owns a stake in the fast-growing VivaAerobus, with other shares held by Mexican bus company IAMSA. The airline was set up in 2006. A VivaAerobus spokeswoman told the Sunday Independent that it had "no comment".

The airline is planning to expand rapidly over the next two years, ramping up flights to South and Central America. VivaAerobus already flies to a number of airports in the US but it is believed to be planning to increase the route network with new links to Texas, Florida, California and Arizona.

VivaAerobus is also set to increase its route network in Mexico and it is forecast to carry 4.9 million passengers this year.

The profitable, debt-free airline is believed to be looking at operating about 50 aircraft on its routes by 2020. This expansion may be funded by raising money in an IPO on Mexico's BMV stock market.

Ryan – a co-founder of Ryanair – has tried to replicate that airline's stunning success by investing in a number of other low-cost carriers in less-developed markets.

His Irelandia firm made a fortune when floating Allegiant Airlines during the boom. It also owns a stake in Singapore's Tiger Airlines.

VivaAerobus is also closely connected with Colombian low-cost carrier VivaColombia. Irelandia is an investor in both companies and there are a number of common board members. Latin American investors Grupo Bolivar and Grupo FAST are also shareholders. There have been suggestions that VivaAerobus and VivaColombia could merge operations having worked in partnership first.

Declan Ryan and his brother Shane have a fortune of around €580m, according to the Sunday Independent Rich List 2013. Declan's assets also include stakes in life science and pharmaceutical firms such as Merrion Pharma and Growcorp. Earlier this year it emerged that Ryan's Irelandia company had taken part in a fundraising round at Aer Sustainable Energy Ltd, which trades as Aer Bio. the company is involved in making fuel.

Irish Independent

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