Vietravel plans $30 mln bond issuance to fund airline

By Phuong Dong   July 25, 2019 | 11:56 pm PT
Vietravel plans $30 mln bond issuance to fund airline
An aircraft taking off from Vietnam's Noi Bai airport. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietravel has sought shareholder approval for issuing VND700 billion ($30.2 million) worth of bonds to fund its proposed airline.

The bonds will be non-convertible, have a two-year tenor and a coupon rate of no more than 11 percent.

The leading Vietnamese tour company said in April that it had applied for a license to launch Vietravel Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary. 

Vietravel also sought shareholder approval to scrap a previous plan for issuing 80,000 non-convertible bonds worth VND1 million ($43.13) each approved in April. The issue, planned in the third quarter of this year, would have fetched VND80 billion ($3.45 million) if fully sold. The 30-month bonds were meant to supplement working capital.

Vietravel Airlines was established in Thua Thien – Hue Province in February with a charter capital of VND700 billion ($30.2 million).

Its chairman and CEO, Nguyen Quoc Ky, said that global travel companies are now tending to operate their own aircraft. "They are completing their ecosystem, and [Vietravel] needs to do the same to step out into the world."

Vietravel already organizes charter flights with partners. In the last two years it has been operating around 300 flights a year, both domestic and international.

In Vietnam, a company needs to have a charter capital of at least VND700 billion ($30.2 million) if it operates 10 aircraft, VND1 trillion ($43.13 million) in case of 11-30 aircraft and VND1.3 trillion ($56.07 million) for over 30 aircraft.

The market now has Vietnam Airlines, budget carriers Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific, the Vietnam Air Services Company or VASCO, Bamboo Airways, and newly-licensed Vietstar Airlines, a military-run company. Last year they served some 50 million passengers, up 10.1 percent from 2017.

Thien Minh and Vietravel Airlines are companies vying to be the seventh.

On Monday the Vietnam Civil Aviation Authority issued an aircraft operator certificate to Vietstar Airlines, allowing it to use two types of aircraft, Embraer Legacy 600 and Beechcraft King Air B300.

Last year, Vietnam’s 21 state-run airports served 103.5 million passengers, up 11 percent year-on-year, and the figure is set to rise to 112 million this year, according to the Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

The number of visitors travelling by air in Vietnam is estimated to grow 17.4 percent in the 2016-2021 period, the fastest in Southeast Asia where average growth is estimated at 6 percent, according to the World Bank.

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