airBaltic (BT, Riga) is moving forward with its plans to go public by announcing the appointment of joint independent advisors for its long-planned initial public offering (IPO).

Global equity capital market advisory firm STJ Advisors and Baltic financial advisory services company Superia will independently review, advise on, and supervise the entire IPO process and its management, alongside guiding and supporting all stakeholders to achieve the best possible outcome, the carrier said in a statement.

"The potential listing on the stock exchange is a significant step in the process of achieving a new level in airBaltic's development," President and CEO Martin Gauss commented without detailing a timeline or the projected size of the offering.

Credit ratings agency Fitch, in an assessment on September 20, anticipated airBaltic would launch an IPO between 2024 and 2026, serving two main purposes: fortifying its financial position and demonstrating to the European Union the economic justification for state support received during the pandemic. The IPO is seen as essential for airBaltic to expand its fleet while sustaining a viable financial structure.

Fitch's scenario involves a cash infusion of EUR300 million euros (USD317 million) in 2024 and yearly capital expenditures (capex) of slightly more than EUR100 million (USD105.5 million). If an IPO does not materialise, it expects airBaltic to reduce uncommitted growth capex from 2025 significantly.

According to Fitch, airBaltic faced a more severe impact from the pandemic than the average European carrier due to limitations in its home markets. However, this was offset by the equity support from its main shareholder, the Latvian government, of EUR250 million (USD263 million) in 2020 and a further EUR90 million (USD95 million) in 2021.