Sun Country Airlines Holdings Inc., looking for leisure travel to take off as the coronavirus pandemic recedes, rose as much as 49% in its trading debut after its $218 million initial public offering priced above a marketed range. Minneapolis-based Sun Country’s shares, which opened trading at $33 Wednesday, were up 45% from the IPO price to $34.75 at 12:53 p.m. in New York trading, giving the company a market value of about $1.95 billion. Sun Country sold about 9.1 million shares on Tuesday for $24 each after marketing them for $21 to $23.

Apollo Global Management Inc. acquired the airline in 2018 and an Apollo affiliate will continue to control the company after the IPO, according to Sun Country’s filings. The airline specializes in ferrying Midwesterners to vacation destinations such as Florida, as well as those in Latin America and the Caribbean. The company said its growth depends on a return to normal business conditions after the pandemic, which remains a threat.

Sun Country “absolutely” timed its IPO to take advantage of the expected surge in domestic travel as more people are vaccinated against Covid-19 and cases of the virus decline, Chief Executive Officer Jude Bricker said in an interview. U.S. airlines have seen a recent pickup in bookings for summer travel and fares after a year of depressed demand, possible early signs that a recovery has begun, industry executives said at a conference Monday.


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Source: BNN Bloomberg

By Mary Schlangenstein and Michael Hytha