Mark Patiky

Before an initial public offering or secondary stock or bond issue comes to market, the lead investment company travels with its client on an arduous sales campaign. Known as a "roadshow," the marketing program consists of an intensive series of meetings with institutional investors and fund managers across the nation, and sometimes around the world. Typically four to six individuals investment bankers, lawyers, asset managers and the client - travel to as many as three cities per day over a two-week period. Their extremely focused, highly polished presentations are aimed at obtaining major purchase commitments for security-offerings with values soaring to hundreds of millions of dollars.

These grueling whistle-stop tours, which can rarely be accomplished without chartering a business aircraft, are designed to bring sellers and prospective buyers face-to-face. Developing these strategic financial relationships and building confidence in the investment is a critical to the eventual success of the issue. Teamwork is essential, timing is crucial, confidentiality is vital and mobility is fundamental. That is why the world's foremost global financial powerhouses depend on air charter for expedient travel, combined with exceptional service and professionalism.

Myriad of Details

On these trips, a myriad of exacting detail must be considered. Successive meetings and presentations must run on a precise timetable. Ground transportation revisions, travel itinerary changes and schedule cancellations can occur at the last minute. Catering, hotel and conference room arrangements must be deftly juggled. Flexibility is key and an oversight in any aspect of the plan could have severe financial impact.

Companies such as Jet Aviation, (who has a base in close proximity to the New York financial markets), have made roadshows a specialty. In the past year, more than 18 roadshows were successfully completed utilizing Jet Aviation's services. Jet has found that their Gulfstreams are particularly popular with roadshows because of their non-stop, transcontinental range, superior levels of comfort for six to 12 passengers, and complete airborne boardroom facilities.

Thirty Cities, Two Weeks

About two weeks prior to a trip, an investment banking firm calls with a skeleton plan possibly the first 12 cities in a 26-city itinerary, the number of passengers traveling plus a specific aircraft request.

The roadshow coordinator computes five minutes for the transfer from airplane to limo, 10 minutes en route to the street address, another five minutes from the building lobby to the conference room, 50 minutes for the presentation, and a return back to the airport. That means the group could be taxiing for takeoff to Denver by 4:45. "Good, that works," says the coordinator. In reality, metropolitan traffic delays or weather problems can easily skew the timing.

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