March 16, 2017 / 10:28 PM / a year ago

Azul seeks up to $532 mln in Brazil, U.S. IPOs

SAO PAULO, March 16 (Reuters) - Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras SA wants to raise as much as $532 million in an initial public offering in Brazil and the United States, the fourth attempt by Brazil’s No. 3 commercial airline to list in public equity markets.

Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday showed Azul put out a suggested price range for its Brazil-traded shares between 19 reais and 23 reais, and between $18.02 and $21.81 for its American depositary shares.

The company wants to sell up to 72 million common shares, with a ratio of three Brazilian shares per ADS, according to the filing. The shares will be listed in the São Paulo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, Azul said, without giving a exact timetable for the transaction.

Under terms of the deal, Azul could sell additional and supplementary allotments equivalent to 10.8 million shares in the IPO. The placement of those shares depends on how market conditions, such as investor demand, behave, the filing said.

After failed attempts to list in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Azul raised fresh capital through private stake sales to United Continental Holdings Inc., which snapped 5 percent of the company for $100 million, and a 23.7 percent stake to China’s HNA Group Co Ltd for $450 million. Both transactions happened in 2015.

The IPO, which sources have told Reuters could be priced around the end of next quarter, underscores the growing allure of Brazilian airlines among foreign investors as the government eases foreign ownership of carriers and the economy begins to show signs of emerging from a deep recession.

Bankers expects a wave of bond and stock deals from Brazil to hit debt and equity markets from early April on and stretch for several months should market conditions prove favorable and the government manages to pass fiscal austerity reforms.

Some of those companies include the Brazilian unit of Carrefour SA and N2com Internet SA, known by the shoe retailing brand Netshoes - which also applied for a U.S. listing earlier in the day.

Proceeds from the IPO should bolster Azul’s balance sheet as it gets new jets and adds foreign routes from Brazil, to take on rivals Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA and Latam Airlines Group’s TAM brand.

JetBlue Airways Corp founder David Neeleman started Azul in 2008, initially focusing on flights inside Brazil.

The investment banking units of Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG and Itaú Unibanco Holding SA were hired to lead the offering’s underwriting.

$1 = 3.1161 reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; editing by Grant McCool

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