Saudi's NAS airline targets IPO in 2012-2013, hub abroad

CAIRO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Saudi low-cost airline National Air Services (NAS) is targeting an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012-2013 and eyes launching a foreign hub, most likely in Dubai, by early 2012, its CEO said on Monday.

NAS will launch an IPO after posting profits for two consecutive years, a main condition for going public, Simon Stewart told Reuters in a phone interview.

“We will not be profitable by 2010. But we will break even or more than break even in 2011,” he said, declining to give further details or to specify the planned IPO value.

Of the three locations being considered for the foreign hub, Dubai is the most likely choice, he said.

“We are expanding aggressively and we are targeting a (new) route each month. By early 2012 we should have routes in Turkey, Cyprus, India, and we are targeting Pakistan,” he said.

In May, NAS chief commercial officer Maria Angelika Hanne told Reuters the airline is expected to have 2.6 million passengers this year. [ID:nLDE6431YD]

NAS flies out of six Saudi cities including the capital Riyadh to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and India.

The company, which is 37-percent owned by Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, currently has 14 aircraft, and will add two Embraer EMBR3.SA E190s in 2010, two in 2011 and three Airbus EAD.PA A320s in 2012, Hanne has said.

NAS and its rival Sama Airlines, which has halted operations due to financial difficulties, last year borrowed 200 million riyals ($53.33 million) from the government for losses due to operating compulsory routes under a price cap on domestic fares.

(Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by David Cowell)

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