• AirAsia unit to hold $300-M stock offering


    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes plans to raise up to $300 million by listing shares in the long-haul arm of AirAsia, slated for July, a source said Monday.

    AirAsia X would sell 790.12 million shares in the initial public offering (IPO) with listing scheduled for July 10 on Bursa Malaysia, a source familiar with the deal told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

    The funds are expected to be used for a mixture of activities including capital expenditure and repayment of loans.

    Fernandes, who declined to reveal details of the IPO because of regulatory compliance, told AFP that a roadshow to promote his airline business would start in the second week of June with retail investors being his primary target.

    “Going to do a much larger retail offering to give back something to the thousands of people who flew and supported us. Roadshow will start in the second week of June,” he said in an email message.

    “I will go on the road to meet retail investors,” he added.

    The listing comes as Fernandes tries to tap the Kuala Lumpur exchange’s popularity as a center to launch initial public offerings.

    Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst with Standard and Poor’s Equity Research in Singapore, said that the AirAsia X listing would be a success.

    “It is doable. With Tony at the helm it lends credibility to the IPO. The financial market is conducive and there is an appetite for shares in a low-cost carrier especially one with a proven track record like AirAsia, despite the global economic turbulence,” he told AFP.

    AirAsia X flies to cities in Australia, Japan and China from Kuala Lumpur.

    Fernandes previously announced plans to list AirAsia’s Indonesian unit and Tune Insurance in a bid to raise funds to expand in a bigger marketplace.

    Tune Group is owned by Fernandes and his deputy Kamarudin Meranum who are founders of AirAsia, the region’s largest budget carrier.

    Meanwhile, Dow Jones News-wires said that the planned offering by AirAsia X kickstarts the IPO momentum in Malaysia that saw deals worth about $4 billion held back by the elections in the country earlier this month.

    Companies like power firm Malakoff, port and logistics company Westports and an oil-and-gas unit of UMW Holdings had delayed their offerings ahead of the May 5 elections, it said.

    Last year Malaysia saw IPOs worth close to $12-billion raised, making it the number one country in Southeast Asia in terms of fundraising. So far this year, the country ranks fifth in Southeast Asia by deal value, Dow Jones said.



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