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Advisers appointed to find buyer for Loganair

Loganair
Loganair has been under the Bond brothers’ ownership since 1997

Brothers Stephen and Peter Bond are selling Scottish airline Loganair, the biggest operator of regional flights in the UK.

Majority owners Stephen, 72, and his 61-year-old sibling are pulling back after supporting the Paisley-based business for the past 25 year.

It flies 42 aircraft on 80 routes around the UK, Ireland and Norway and also has a contract with Royal Mail. The brothers are now looking for a buyer through Arrowpoint Advisory.

The airline doubled revenues to £161 million and posted earnings of £9m in the year to March, as it recovered from the devastating impact of the pandemic. It is forecasting revenues of £240m and earnings of more than £15m in the current financial year.

Peter Simpson, executive chairman, said the company was taking a “cautious approach” to passenger demand but added: “We do see the recovery cycle continuing.” Passenger numbers are expected to hit 1.4 million this year.

The company was now sufficiently robust to repay a Covid-era government loan of £25 million ahead of time and was trading free of bank debt.

“It’s been a success story in terms of where we’ve got to, and the shareholders now feel it’s the right time to pass the baton onto new owners,” he told The Sunday Times.

“One of the benefits we’ve had is to be small enough to be fleet of foot — where opportunities come up, we’ve worked very quickly to move into them,” said Simpson. The airline had also renegotiated more favourable leases on some of its planes.

However, a sale may not prompt a rush of eager buyers and City analysts expect it to be valued at the lower end of the price range because of continuing thin margins and the uncertain outlook for domestic airlines.

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