Frontier Airlines Files for IPO

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Ultra-low cost carrier Frontier, officially Frontier Group Holdings Inc., filed a preliminary Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) outlining the company’s plan for an initial public offering (IPO). According to the filing, the company plans to raise up to $100 million. There were no indications of either a price range or the number of shares that might be on offer.

The good news for potential investors is that the airline was profitable in 2016, reporting net income of $200 million on operating revenues of $1.7 billion. The airline reported profits in 2014 and 2015 of $140 million and $160 million, respectively. Revenue was essentially flat between 2014 and 2015, but rose by $110 million last year (about 6.9%).

More than 40% of Frontier’s 2016 revenues were attributed to non-ticket items, including fees. Ticket revenue was actually lower than in either of the prior two years, dropping by about 18% year over year in 2016.

Not all the proceeds from the offering will go to the airline. A selling shareholder, presumably William Franke who owns 99.3% of the outstanding shares of Frontier, will sell a portion of the 5.2 million shares he owns through Indigo Frontier Holdings Co. Indigo paid $36 million in cash and assumed$109 million in debt when it bought Frontier from Republic Airways in 2013.

The company plans to use the net proceeds from the IPO to fund the expected cash portion of Frontier’s obligations under the Pilot Phantom Equity Agreement for the benefit of the Participating Pilots in connection with the completion of this offering. The remainder of the funds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Frontier did not specify which exchange its shares would trade on, but the company did say it had applied to be listed under the ticker symbol FRNT.