IPO on horizon for Skyscanner

GARETH Williams, the co-founder of travel price-comparison website Skyscanner, has raised the prospect of a stock market flotation if the Edinburgh-based firm continues its fast-paced expansion.

The 11-year-old firm is expecting revenues to reach £20 million by the end of May, up from £15.2m during the previous 12 months, and is seeking to hit turnover of £63m within a couple of years.

Williams said the Asia- Pacific region is likely to be one of the main sources of growth after the firm opened an office in Singapore last year. Skyscanner is also targeting mobile phone users and last week surpassed six million downloads of its app.

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“Something like seven out of ten of the most highly travelled air routes are in Asia,” Williams said. “There’s relatively little competition in that region and it works to our strengths as it’s a fractured market.”

Skyscanner became profitable in 2009, two years after it received a £2.5m cash injection from Scottish Equity Partners, and Williams said in the short term it will be able to self-fund its expansion.

His ambition is for Skyscanner to become Scotland’s first $1 billion web company, at which stage an initial public offering (IPO) would be possible. “I would like to be big enough that an IPO was the only option,” he said.

The firm currently has 120 staff in Edinburgh, plus ten in Singapore.