Blue Air (Romania) (0B, Bucharest Otopeni) is planning a bond issue on the Bucharest Stock Exchange in October 2022, after concluding the settlement of pre-emption rights among shareholders, and then, two to three years from now, to go public via a listing on the London Stock Exchange, the low-cost carrier’s chief executive, Oana Petrescu, has told the Romanian news agency Agerpres.

Petrescu estimated that a preventive composition procedure - a debtor-led process designed to buy the debtor time and agree a plan to restructure its debts - would end in July 2022, after which the carrier would proceed with the bond issue, which had initially been planned for 2020 but was put on hold with the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our plan is to first make the listing on the stock exchange with these bonds, and in a two-to-three-year timeline, depending on the market and how fast we go through the preliminary procedures for the London Stock Exchange, we will list to London,” she outlined.

“We practically graduated in 2019 from the London Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme, which prepares small and medium-sized companies for listing, and the plan was to start all the transparency and reporting procedures, but the pandemic forced a two-year postponement,” she added.

She refrained from putting a value on the bond issue, as the original plan for EUR40-60 million euros (USD47-71 million) was to finance a certain project which was later postponed.

“During this time we wanted to continue all of the projects we had, but [...] some expansion projects, some new destinations we had not operated to before, had to be put on hold. Instead, we focussed a lot on updating our network as we realised that passenger requirements had changed. Those who still fly no longer want secondary airports but the main airports, where they have connections in case anything happens to their flight. They no longer want to fly ultra-low-cost and want small additional benefits, which made us say: we’ll remain consistent with our ultra-low-cost principles but at the same time give a better flight experience,” Petrescu said.

The chief executive stressed that the EUR60 million (USD71 million) state-guaranteed soft loan provided to privately-owned Blue Air by the Eximbank of Romania, agreed in October 2020 as cover for Covid-linked losses, represented a vote of confidence in the company.

“We are grateful that they gave it to us, given that the market would not have done so at that time, and it is a vote of confidence. It means that they really thought we were recovering and that we could continue to pay taxes,” she said.