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Low Cost Airline Sun Country Files For US IPO

By Dave Simpson

Sun Country Airlines, an ultra low-cost air carrier that is backed by private equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO), banking on a rebound in air travel as countries roll out COVID-19 vaccines.

Minnesota-based Sun Country, which offers affordable flights and vacation packages to destinations across the United States and in Mexico, central America and the Caribbean, said that it will list its stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol "SNCY".

Founded in 1982 by Jim Olsen and a small group of pilots and flight attendants, Sun Country began flight operations in 1983 with a single Boeing 727-200 aircraft.

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The airline, which has been bought and sold a few times over the years, was forced to declare bankruptcy after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, and was hurt again by the recession of 2008 and the revelation of financial fraud.

The airline, which is a contract cargo operator for Amazon Air, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in 2008. The company was eventually bought by Apollo in 2017.

Sun Country's IPO comes as US capital markets are poised for another banner year, with January's IPO haul totalling $33.9 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The company recorded operating revenue of $293.7 million for the nine months that ended on September 30, 2020, from $537.5 million a year earlier.

"With the expectation that recently authorised COVID-19 vaccines will be widely distributed in 2021, we believe the airline industry will rebound in the back half of 2021 and normalise in 2022," the company said in its filing.

Underwriters For Sun Country's Offering

Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs and Nomura are among underwriters for Sun Country's offering.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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