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Gol’s high-flying borrower

Richard Lark, CFO of low-cost airline Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, exemplifies the increasing sophistication that ex-bankers are bringing to Brazilian corporate finance. He is a qualified pilot, was formerly a vice-president at Morgan Stanley and is a borrower whose company’s stock value has doubled since its IPO. Lawrence White spoke to him in São Paulo.

Richard Lark, CFO of low-cost airline Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes
Richard Lark: local market is becoming more competitive

You’ve been to the capital markets three times so far, for two equity deals and the 8.75% perpetual bond in April this year. With your plans to expand Gol’s fleet of aircraft in mind, do you think you’ll be looking to issue more debt or equity in the near future? You need a lot of prefunding to buy aircraft, but we are well positioned for now thanks to US-bank guaranteed leases. I’ve no immediate plans for debt issuance, but we could go to the capital markets if we make plans to expand the fleet beyond what has already been announced. We have registered for an equity issuance and a convertible but we’re on hold now due to market conditions.

So market volatility still has a big impact on your funding activities?

Yes, Brazilian companies can’t yet depend on the international capital markets. You’ve got to wait for a good window and then really go for it.

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