AirAsia plans to sell every non-core investment

Tony-FernandesPETALING JAYA: The Air Asia Group may be seeking to generate additional cash by selling several non-core assets as part of its monetisation programme, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday.

It cited the airlines’ group CEO and co-founder Tony Fernandes as saying the company was already having talks on the matter.

“Every investment business, including loyalty programme is up for sale eventually,” he was quoted as telling the media at a company event.

“We are in discussions on a few,” he added, without elaborating on the assets planned to be sold immediately.

The report said AirAsia may sell six or seven of its assets, and is in the midst of selling its aircraft leasing arm Asia Aviation Capital as well as a 25% stake in online travel booking operator AAE Travel.

Fernandes had reportedly said on Aug 29 that the company intended to continue looking at deals to monetise its non-core assets, to help generate returns for shareholders and distribute a special dividend biennially.

“We are currently in final negotiations and will materialise the sale of Asia Aviation Capital, our leasing arm before the close of the year,” he said.

AirAsia had also recently announced the sale of its 50% stake in its training centre, Asia Aviation Centre of Excellence (AACE), to Canadian aviation company CAE for US$100 million (RM420 million), while also continuing to work towards the listing of Indonesia AirAsia and the Philippines AirAsia.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Bhd was adding a further 23 planes to the group fleet in the second half of the year while gearing to expand the number to 500 by 2027, Fernandes said. This would entail adding 30 new aircraft annually for the next decade.

AirAsia Bhd also announced on Aug 29 that its pre-tax profit soared by 52.4 % to RM386.8 million for the second quarter ending on June 30 this year, compared to the RM253.81 million recorded for the same quarter last year.

Revenue grew by 19% to RM2.37 billion, from RM1.99 billion, mainly due to a 10% increase in total passengers carried and a strong seat-load factor of 89% compared to 87% in the same quarter a year ago, it said.