by BERNAMA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
KUALA LUMPUR – AirAsia Group Bhd has completed its private share placement exercise for the second tranche which comprises 100.37 million new shares or about three per cent of the company’s issued shares.
Chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (picture) said the successful private share placement and the positive response that it received from local and foreign investors were a testament to AirAsia’s strong fundamentals and its tremendous future potential, especially with its pivot into digital and data-driven businesses.
“This placement forms a significant part of the group overall fundraising exercise to ensure liquidity throughout 2021.
“Of the gross total proceeds, AirAsia will allocate funds to support fuel hedging settlement, general working expenses, aircraft lease and maintenance payments and fund airasia Digital business units, namely the airasia super app and BigPay fintech platforms,” he said in a statement today
The second tranche, issued at 86.5 sen per share, follows the initial tranche of 11.07 per cent or 369.85 million shares issued on Feb 19 that saw the emergence of Hong Kong-based investor Dr Stanley Choi Chiu Fai as a substantial shareholder after upgrading his share position to 8.96 per cent from less than five per cent previously.
In total, both tranches delivered 470.21 million new shares issued under the private placement exercise, representing 14.07 per cent of AirAsia Group’s total issued shares and raised a total of RM336.46 million.
Earlier, the shareholders of AirAsia Group and Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd had approved for AirAsia Group to undertake the private placement exercise of up to 20 per cent of its total issued shares.
The exercise forms part of AirAsia Group’s larger plans to raise up to RM2.0 billion – RM2.5 billion via a combination of debt and equity to finance, among others, the working capital requirements of the group.
On a wider scale, Fernandes said the private placement was a major vote of confidence towards the recovery of the aviation and tourism industry that had been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At AirAsia, we have robust plans that will allow us to survive on domestic services until international borders reopen,” he said.
He also expressed confidence that the rollout of vaccination programmes in the key markets, which are set to immunise 40 to 50 per cent of the populations by the third quarter of this year, as well as other factors would pave the way for a major travel reboot in the near future.
The other factors include better education and testing, strong support for leisure travel bubbles among low risk countries and territories, and the push for global digital health passports.