AirAsia eyes HK or Singapore IPO this yr

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AIRASIA Group, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, is considering holding an initial public offering (IPO) either on the Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchange this year.

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“It’s supposed to be a plan for next year but we are accelerating it,” AirAsia Philippines Chief Executive Officer Captain Dexter Comendador told reporters during the inauguration of AirAsia’s Clark to Kalibo flight last week.

AirAsia Philippines is the Philippine unit of AirAsia Group pioneered by AirAsia Berhad, which is listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia.

“[It will be] AirAsia as a group. This is the very first. We are the truly Asean company that will be listed as Asean not as Philippines, not as Malaysia, not as Thailand,” Comendador said.

Last year, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes was reported as saying they were planning an IPO for Philippines AirAsia in 2018 but that it could be accelerated to 2017 given the improving business prospects. Fernandes said at the time that the IPO would seek to raise about $200 million or “maybe more.”

Comendador declined to say how much the AirAsia intends to raise from the planned share offer this year, saying that discussions are still ongoing.

“It’s the finance officers and the owners, they are the ones talking with the [foreign]banks,” Comendador said.

Meanwhile, he said AirAsia Philippines plans to expand its reach by launching flights to other popular tourist destinations in the country such as Davao and Puerto Princesa.

He said they are is also aiming to increase thir fleet to 17 to 19 planes by the end of 2017 from the current 14, with nine new planes set to be delivered this year. He said some of the old planes will be replaced with new ones so the year-end count would only be around 17 to 19 planes.

“Our expansion plan is, in the next three to five years I should have doubled my fleet. On the fifth year to the tenth year, I should have tripled my fleet. By the 15th year, I should have around 70 planes,” he said.

“We’re ready for the competition. We’re expanding,” Comendador said.

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