WHILE Asia’s biggest budget carrier AirAsia Group is eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) next year as an Asean stock, its Philippine unit is pursuing a listing this year to finance its fleet expansion.
Once the funds are available from the IPO, “it would be easy for me to lease [planes],” Captain Dexter Comendador, Philippines AirAsia president and chief executive officer, told members of the press on Friday.
Comendador said the company has not set a specific price for the IPO.
“We don’t care what the price is. It does not matter because we are looking forward to the Asean stock,” Comendador said.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes earlier announced they were looking to raise $200 million from the listing of the Philippine unit.
In February this year, Fernandes was quoted as saying he wanted to combine AirAsia’s separate units in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines under a single listed Asean holding company. The holding firm would then be listed either on the Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchange.
Comendador said Philippines AirAsia currently has ongoing discussions with local banks to pursue the IPO.
“They (Philippines AirAsia team) are working behind closed doors,” he said.
Comendador said he wants Philippines AirAsia to have 17 to 19 Airbus A320s this year, triple that number by the fifth to tenth year, and have around 70 planes on the 15th year.
Aside from increasing flights to tourist destinations, the airline also invests in partnerships with companies such as Solaire Resort and Casino, Hennan Group of Resorts, and the latest, Puregold, for aircraft livery.
Asked about his view on the competition, Comendador said: “We have an advantage from the start. We are one AirAsia.”