Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Khazanah says more clarity on AirAsia X biz model needed

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd wants more clarity on long-haul budget carrier'' AirAsia X Sdn Bhd's financial and business model before it goes ahead to acquire a 10% stake, managing director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said.

He was quoted by Bernama as saying on Wednesday, Sept 14: 'When there is more clarity, we will be interested (to proceed).'

Khazanah, which is the government investment arm, would also have to look into the timing, if it does go ahead with the acquisition of the 10% stake.

"They have a certain timeline, in terms of when they want to go on to the next stage of evolution, such as initial public offerings and so forth," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO conference.

On AirAsia X's business model, Azman said: "We know the model does work in terms of the short-haul but for the medium and long-haul, I think it is still relatively early days. We need more clarity on that."

In August this year, Khazanah proposed to acquire 10% of AirAsia X on "terms and at a price to be mutually agreed later."

Bernama said the proposal came about following the signing of a collaboration agreement between MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] (MAS), AIRASIA BHD [] and AirAsia X.

The corporate exercise would see Khazanah continuing to remain as the single largest and its major shareholder of MAS and also a 10% stake in AirAsia.

Under the collaboration, the currently ailing MAS will focus on its services to be a full-service premium carrier while AirAsia will continue as a regional low-cost carrier (LCC) and AirAsia X, a medium-to-long-haul LCC.

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