Debonair float to raise pounds 25m for expansion

Three main shareholders in Debonair, including the chairman and chief executive, Franco Mancassola, stand to make a profit of more than pounds 12m when the cut-price airline floats on the fledgling European stock market, Easdaq, next month. Besides Mr Mancassola, Dr Wayne Stern, a director, and Anthony Silverman, a shareholder, stand to make a profit of more than pounds 4m each.

Debonair's 500 private shareholders can also expect a windfall from the flotation, which will value the group at up to pounds 110m. It is raising up to pounds 25m, selling 5 million shares priced at between 400p and 500p each.

Debonair only started flying planes last year. Since then it has expanded rapidly and now carries 60,000 passengers a month.

From its UK base at Luton airport it flies to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Munich and Rome. It will use the pounds 25m to increase the frequency of its services and to fly to more destinations. "We will add new routes, buy new planes and keep a war chest for a rainy day. There is no such thing as an underfunded airline," said Mr Mancassola.

As part of the expansion plan, Debonair is going to increase its fleet from six to 10 aircraft within the next 12 months. It hopes to introduce flights to Scandinavia and southern Europe in the next few years.

Debonair lost pounds 15m last year, a result of developing its network, but it hopes to make a profit by 1999. Mr Mancassola plans to take advantage of the growing deregulation of the European airline industry which has seen the emergence of several cheap airlines competing with established carriers.

It is following in the footsteps of the Irish no-frills carrier, Ryanair, which has also announced flotation plans. But Mr Mancassola believes Debonair is different from other cheap carriers. "We have much more generous leg room, we give free drinks and we are installing video-on-demand units, unlike other airlines I could mention," he said.

Mr Mancassola previously worked for Continental, helping the US airline to start up international airline links. Eventually he decided to set up his own airline, Discovery Airways, which operated out of Honolulu in Hawaii. When he sold that business seven years ago Mr Mancassola made, in his own words, "a decent profit". But the sale meant he was prohibited from setting up another American airline. That was when he decided to move back to Europe.

"I decided that I did not want to play tennis of golf for the rest of my life and moved back to Europe instead," he said. With the help of Mr Silverman, who runs a US security business, he raised pounds 14.5m to fund Debonair's expansion.

Mr Mancassola plans to meet institutions over the next month to whip up support for the deal. The shares are likely to be listed on Easdaq at the end of next month.

Debonair's decision to float on Easdaq will be big boost to the market which has failed to spark the imagination of companies and investors alike and has only 10 members at present. "We wanted to join a European market because we are a European company," said Mr Mancassola.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments