Icelandic airline Play soars 44% in stock debut

An airplane of a Nordic airline newcomer Play is seen on a tarmac in Keflavik
An airplane of a Nordic airline newcomer Play is seen on a tarmac in Keflavik, Iceland in this undated handout photo. Play/Iris Blondahl Kjartansdottir/Handout via REUTERS

July 9, 2021

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Icelandic airline Play jumped 44% in its stock debut on the Icelandic First North exchange on Friday.

Founded by former executives from collapsed airline WOW, Play is the Nordic region’s latest newcomer betting on cheap planes and pent-up travel demand as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Shares in the Icelandic budget carrier, which priced its initial public offering at 18 Icelandic crowns ($0.15) per share, rose to 26 crowns per share in early trading.

Play said demand for the shares offered had been eight times supply.

“Our staff has worked wonders and we are well prepared to maximise the opportunities post-COVID.

I think we can be allowed a little optimism now that we can start rebuilding Iceland’s aviation and tourism sectors,” CEO Birgir Jonsson said in a statement.

Play plans to fly Airbus A321neo aircraft on lease on a flexible contract with AerCap, between Europe and North America, stopping in Iceland.

($1 = 123.3400 Icelandic crowns)

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; editing by Jason Neely)