Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor Jethro
Ansett memories turned into Gold
August 31, 2011
Any sentimental former Ansett shareholders or creditors desperate to revive their memories of the fallen carrier could soon be offered a new investment opportunity.
A former Ansett employee who has been working on plans to launch his airline RMA Gold Airways for the past seven years, has signalled his intentions to raise $600 million on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the Ansett collapse. This would make the listing bigger than Virgin Blue's $439 million IPO in 2003.
''We are currently targeting an IPO [initial public offer] as early as September 13,'' Gold's founder Jens Buche told CBD.
Buche said it was purely coincidental the airline (headquartered in the Melbourne suburb of Ascot Vale) wanted to kick off its public offer the day after the 10th anniversary of Ansett going into administration.
With the RMA in Gold Airways standing for the Australian airline pioneer Reg Miles Ansett, Buche said his airline was not trying to capitalise on Ansett's history. He said it was trying to ''indicate that what we're doing is that we're trying to move on and provide the general public with an airline that they can relate to with the good product that Ansett had out there''.
''There is an affinity with what Reg Ansett stood for,'' Buche said. ''I think plenty was said about Ansett that used to be negative but I think you can also write about all the good things Ansett did for this country.''
Despite Gold not having any planes in its fleet nor an air operator certificate, Buche was upbeat about the planned IPO. Even with Qantas shares recently hitting a record low, he said: ''I don't think there are too many clever people around that know exactly when airline shares will take off.''
Asked if any investment banks were advising on the listing, Buche said: ''That I can't just explain at the moment. I am not in a position to actually make a public statement about that at the moment.
''There may not be enough money in Australia for this airline,'' he said, hinting that there could be plenty of offshore interest.
One positive that could help Gold attract investors is its low operating cost. The airline's accounts for the year to June 30 show it broke even for the period. This was helped by Gold having no borrowing costs, no employee expenses and no other costs. Revenues for the period were also flat at zilch.