Indigo Partners to sell its 18.7 percent Wizz Air stake

A Wizz Air Airbus 320 aircraft lands at the Chopin International Airport in Warsaw, Poland May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Indigo Partners, the private equity firm managed by Bill Franke, the veteran U.S. low-cost airline investor, is selling its 18.7 percent stake in eastern European low-cost carrier Wizz Air WIZZ.L, it said on Wednesday.

Franke made his name as a champion of unbundled fares in ultra-low-cost airlines, where passengers are offered cheap base ticket prices with extra charges for other services.

Phoenix-based Indigo Partners, whose investments have also included Mexico’s Volaris, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Tiger Airways, first invested in Wizz back in 2004.

Wizz floated shares on the stock market in February 2015 at an initial offer price of 1,150 pence. They closed on Wednesday at 2,425 pence, representing over twice the flotation price.

Indigo Partners said in a statement it planned to place approximately 10.7 million Wizz Air shares in an accelerated book building process.

It also holds 44.8 million convertible shares and convertible notes, which if fully converted would entitle them to an additional 24.2 million new ordinary shares, Indigo Partners said in a statement.

The bookrunners are J.P. Morgan Cazenove JPM.N, Barclays Bank PLC BARC.L and Citigroup C.N, with Goodbody as the placing agent.

Reporting by Graham Fahy, Conor Humphries and Victoria Bryan. Editing by Jane Merriman