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GOL Airlines plans frequent flyer IPO to raise capital

Gol Linhas Aéreasplans to raise 1.3 billion Reais ($677 million) in an IPO of its frequent flyer program (Smiles), and use its proceeds to pay down its debts. The plan is to sell 52 million new shares for between 20.70 and 25.80 reais a share, the company informed.

The move comes in a bad year for the stock market in Brazil. The Ibovespa is down 10% for the year, amid a slow domestic economic recovery and possible interest-rate hikes to tame high inflation, as well as continued uncertainty in global markets.

Smiles makes money by selling miles/points to partners or members, which are redeemed for prizes such as airline tickets, concert tickets, or consumer goods, and then investing those revenues for the time between getting those funds and spending it to buy the prizes. They also benefits from clients who never redeem all the points earned.

Last year, Smile’s revenue was 754.4 million reais with a net profit of 117.8 million reais, according to the company. The proceeds from the sale of shares would be used to purchase advance tickets from Gol to help improve the airline’s finances.

By spinning off Smiles, Gol could increase the value of its subsidiary, and help improve Gol’s shares. Gol will retain 60% of Smiles’ shares after the IPO, and its shares jumped 2.8% on Monday trading.