Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Porter Airlines denies report it's shopping for a buyer: Airline shelved an initial public offering in 2010 but says an IPO is still a possibility

The company that operates Toronto-based Porter Airlines has denied a report that it is looking for a buyer.

The Globe and Mail, citing "people familiar with the plans," reported Tuesday that the search process is underway and there is no guarantee it will result in a deal. The paper said the company's financial backers "have been actively looking for an exit strategy through a sale."

"There is no truth to this rumor," Porter Airlines spokesman Brad Cicero wrote in an email to CBC News. "We have heard this many times over the past several years. Porter is not for sale and there have been no discussions with any parties," he wrote.

Cicero said Porter has the "strongest balance sheet of any airline in North America" thanks to its sale last year of the passenger terminal at Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport. 

"We are positioning ourselves very well to complete a future [initial public offering], as has previously been reported," he wrote.

In 2010, Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. put on hold plans to file an IPO and list itself as a publicly traded company. The airline blamed unfavourable market conditions caused by volatility in the equity markets.

In 2013, it announced plans to buy up to 30 CS-100 jets from Montreal-based Bombardier, which would expand the regional carrier's reach from coast to coast, taking direct aim at Air Canada and WestJet.

However, those plans were contingent on getting approval for a required runway extension at Billy Bishop airport so it could handle jets. The Liberal government refused to reopen an agreement that prohibits jets at the island airport. 

Porter, which was founded in 2006, flies to 24 year-round and seasonal destinations in Canada and the United States, using Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. 

Source:  http://www.cbc.ca

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