JAL plots $8.5bn float

Japan Airlines plans to launch Asia's biggest flotation this year less than three years after it became the largest non-financial bankruptcy in Japanese history.

JAL wants to raise $8.5bn by relisting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange next month, which would mark a rare financial fillip for the country's government that has suffered hefty paper losses from its investments in Shinsei Bank and Aozora Bank. The initial public offering would almost double the ¥350bn ($4.5bn) that the Japanese government pumped into JAL via a state-backed fund in early 2010.

The airline has delivered a strong turnaround since it filed for bankruptcy and posted operating profits of ¥204.9bn ($2.6bn) in year to March, driven by slashing its workforce and pension payouts.

The relisting of JAL would make it the world's second-largest IPO this year after flotation of Facebook, the social network co-founded by its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

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