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AirAsia X offers 790m shares in Malaysia IPO

Officials of long-haul arm of budget carrier refuse to confirm the value of the IPO

Gulf News

Kuala Lumpur: The long-haul arm of budget carrier AirAsia is offering 790 million shares in an initial public offering (IPO) next year to raise funds and expand its fleet, a draft prospectus showed Friday.

Malaysia-based AirAsia X said in the document that 685.6 million shares would be offered to institutional investors and 104.4 million units to retail buyers, making up a third of the company’s enlarged capital.

AirAsia officials refused to confirm the value of the IPO when contacted by AFP. But an industry source, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said it plans to raise about $250 million (Dh917.5 million).

The company, controlled by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes, said in the prospectus that it plans to increase routes and expand its fleet to 32 planes by 2016.

AFP reported last month that the listing is part of a trio of IPOs planned by Fernandes, which include the Indonesian unit of AirAsia and his insurance firm.

Global slowdown

The plan comes as Fernandes tries to tap the Kuala Lumpur exchange’s popularity as a centre to launch IPOs, which has seen it rise to fourth globally despite the global slowdown.

A source who asked to remain unnamed told AFP that the three listings were worth between $400 million and $550 million in total.

AirAsia chairman Aziz Bakar told AFP in October that work was in progress for the triple IPOs but declined to provide any details.

Fernandes, who also owns Formula One team Caterham and London-based English Premiership football club Queens Park Rangers, could not be reached for comment.

The former record industry executive stepped down in June as chief executive officer of the Malaysian-listed AirAsia and shifted his office to Jakarta to concentrate on regional growth through Indonesia.

AirAsia X, celebrating its fifth anniversary yesterday, now flies 11 Airbuses to 12 destinations across Australia, Asia and the Middle East.