City & Corporate: SR Technics brings in Merlin for flotation

ZURICH: Aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics has hired Merlin Financial in a bid to bolster communications ahead of a likely stock market listing of the company.

Merlin MD David Simonsen is leading the team advising SR Technics, which is trying to reposition itself away from its origins as the technical division of the now defunct airline Swissair.

SR Technics executive vice-president of corporate communications Mary Mannion was unavailable for comment.

Although the company has not set a date for its flotation, SR Technics chairman Frank Turner revealed its plans for the flotation towards the end of last month.

Turner told Reuters recently that the proceeds from the float, which could value SR Technics at £1.8bn, would be used to develop products, in particular the company's spare-parts business, which supplies the world's airlines.

An important part of Merlin's brief is likely to be convincing the financial media and investment community that SR Technics has emerged from the shadow of its heavily indebted former owner Swissair.

The national airline was forced to restructure and was rebranded, Swiss, in October 2001.

SR Technics still gets about 18 per cent of its revenue from Swiss, a source of income that has been secured by German carrier Lufthansa's planned takeover of the company.

SR Technics also supplies airlines including Garuda, Qantas, TUI, CSA Czech Airlines and FlyMe.

SR Technics slashed its 2003 net loss of £1.7m in half in 2004, reporting a net loss of £869,000 after a 24 per cent jump in sales. Revenue climbed from £408m to £508m.

The company, which is owned by investment firms 3i and Star Capital, is also looking for a replacement for chief executive Hans Ulrich Beyeler, who has announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

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