Will Porter lift off? - Macleans.ca

Will Porter lift off?

Just because the city’s financial movers and shakers like travelling with Porter doesn’t necessarily mean they want to own shares in it

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Ask anyone on Bay Street who has flown on Toronto’s Porter Airlines and you’re likely to hear rave reviews on everything from the swank airport lounge to the proximity of Porter’s main base of operations, at Toronto’s island airport, to the city’s downtown skyscrapers. But just because the city’s financial movers and shakers like travelling with Porter doesn’t necessarily mean they want to own shares in it.

Porter had been pursuing a $120-million initial public offering, but was forced to delay pricing the sale after the European financial crisis rattled global markets. Then, due to an apparent lack of interest from big institutional investors, underwriters dropped the IPO’s price to $5.50 a share from up to $7 a share previously. The final shoe dropped this week when Porter decided to suspend the sale entirely, citing “market conditions.”

Porter has posted a loss in each of the three fiscal years since it launched, and recorded a loss of $6 million in the first three months of 2010. Its flight plan calls for continued expansion elsewhere in Canada and the United States, putting it on the verge of becoming an important player. But for this up and comer, it seems there is still significant turbulence ahead.