AirAsia’s Philippine unit plans more than $200 million IPO —CEO

May 2, 2019 - 6:06 PM
Tail of AirAsia X plane as seen at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia in Tangerang, Indonesia, September 20, 2017. (Reuters/Beawiharta/File Photo)

MANILA — The Philippine unit of AirAsia Group Bhd hopes to push through with its initial public offering this year to raise more than $200 million to expand capacity, the regional carrier’s chief executive said on Thursday.

AirAsia Group had planned to list some of its Southeast Asian units as early as 2017, but was delayed by volatile markets and business challenges.

“We’re getting close. Hopefully we can do it this year,” AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes told reporters.

The low-cost carrier is planning to raise an amount “far greater” than the previously announced $200 million target, Fernandes said.

Philippines AirAsia, which is growing the most along with Indonesian operations, will swing back to profitability this year, Fernandes said.

“We’ve cracked the barrier of size, we know the market better,” he said.

AirAsia Group has a 16 percent share of the Philippine market. Its Philippine unit had 22 aircraft that carried 6.86 million passengers in 2018.

In Vietnam, AirAsia’s plans to launch a local carrier has so far failed to take off, with the airline announcing just last month that it had ended a two-year deal with local entities Gumin Company Ltd and Hai Au Aviation.

“We may never be in Vietnam,” Fernandes said on Wednesday.

“If that is the case, that is the case. I have to find the right partner to do it.”

Two weeks ago, he said on Twitter he was optimistic about the airline being in Vietnam by the end of the year.

Fernandes said he is not interested in investing in national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd as he would want to focus on expanding AirAsia’s operations.

Malaysia has received interest from some local and foreign firms to buy the financially distressed national carrier, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in March.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Himani Sarkar