Long-struggling Yatra picked the day before India reopened its borders to kickstart its public listing plan. It's now got one year to convince investors online travel is the future in India.
One of India’s biggest travel agencies wants to raise up to $100 million from a public listing on India’s stock exchange.
Despite losing money over the past couple of years, Yatra has managed to weather the pandemic, even surviving a battle with an activist shareholder. Recruiting Sabre’s chief commercial officer Roshan Mendis onto its board seems to have marked a new chapter in the company’s fight for survival — which also included a failed merger with Ebix in 2020.
On Friday, Yatra said it had filed a “red herring prospectus” and had began talking with potential investors. It expects the process will be completed in the third quarter.
The initial public offering could raise $100 million, while there’s a secondary offering of almost 9 million equity shares by THCL Travel Holding Cyprus Limited, a subsidiary of Yatra Online. That amounts to about 8 percent of the shares outstanding.
Yatra said the additional resources from the IPO would accelerate growth and capture significant opportunities. More importantly, it gives the company access to Indian investors who are currently excluded from investing in Yatra Online’s listing in the U.S., due to regulatory constraints. Yatra is listed on the Nasdaq exchange, where its shares fell at the start of the year following the spread of Omicron.
However, with the reopening of scheduled flights on March 27, its shares are starting to recover. “Since India opened to international travel, we’ve seen meaningful uplift for travel on the leisure and corporate side,” said CEO Dhruv Shringi during an investor call on Friday.
Shringi added there were growing opportunities to acquire other corporate travel agencies in India. Yatra also aims to invest further in technology and corporate infrastructure for its freight delivery business.
Meanwhile, it has just appointed three new non-executive independent directors, according to reports, including a former government minister and former global sales vice president for Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.
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Photo credit: India reopened its borders to international travel on March 27, 2022. Arash Bal / Unsplash