Exclusive: VistaJet in talks with banks on possible $900 million sale - sources

Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:24pm EDT
 
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By Freya Berry and Pamela Barbaglia

LONDON (Reuters) - Swiss private aviation firm VistaJet is in talks with bankers over a potential sale of the business which could fetch up to $900 million, two financial sources closely monitoring the deal said on Monday.

VistaJet, which is known for its distinctive silver planes whose usage often costs around 10,000 euros ($13,600) an hour, is close to appointing financial advisers and could start a sale process in September, one of the sources said.

A VistaJet spokeswoman said the company's multi-millionaire founder Thomas Flohr had stated in many recent interviews that he had no plans to sell and that for the time being the company is not for sale.

Flohr, who bought his first plane in 2003 and oversaw VistaJet's maiden flight in 2004, now runs a fleet some 40 strong and says he is the biggest business jet customer of Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO: Quote).

VistaJet's 100 percent owner, Flohr is a former finance executive more likely to be found wearing jeans than a suit and who was once married to Katharina Flohr, creative director of jewelry maker Fabergé and a founding editor of the Russian edition of fashion magazine Vogue.

Their daughter Nina, currently a brand director at VistaJet, was charged with revamping its management while a teenager. Since then VistaJet has boosted its image with moves such as splashing graffiti across the tail fin of one of its jets.

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A VistaJet Canadair CL-600-2B19 Challenger 850 aircraft is taxied at an airfield in Singapore February 1, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Chong