REX offer takes off

AUSTRALIA'S largest independent regional airline, Regional Express, or REX, yesterday officially began a tour of three States to promote the company's initial public offering of 35 million new ordinary shares.

A group of about 50 prospective investors attended an information seminar breakfast at Mary Gilhooleys in Lismore.

The offer was fully underwritten by Tricom Equities.

After Lismore, executives from REX and stockbroking company Tricom Equities will visit 11 centres throughout NSW, Tasmania and Victoria in a weeklong publicity hike, which finishes this Friday.

Managing director of REX, Geoff Breust, said he was reasonably confident the shares would sell, despite rising fuel prices.

"We have been able to grow the market substantially by offering affordable fares and have the issue well covered," Mr Breust said.

"Last year, fuel rose 70 per cent and during that year, REX had an 8.7 per cent reduction in direct costs of operation.

"We have also added a fuel surcharge of $22 to each ticket, which we will review if we need to."

Director of corporate finance for Tricom, Richard Caldwell, said the share float was a great opportunity for the finance com- pany to utilise its national network.

"It's a great opportunity for us because we have regional offices and a national presence and REX can certainly offer shareholders strong opportunity for growth," he said.

The offer opened on Friday, September 30, and will close on Friday, October 28.

The total number of shares following the offer will be 115 million.

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