Japan Airlines could bid for Malaysia Airlines stake, says report

Japan Airlines president Yuji Akasaka has not ruled out talks on investing in Malaysia Airlines, says the Edge weekly. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan Airlines Co could be a contender to buy a stake in Malaysia Airlines Bhd, the Edge weekly newspaper reported.

There have been high-level talks for Japan Airlines to pursue an interest in the Malaysian national carrier amid close ties between the two governments, the Edge said, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Japan Airlines president Yuji Akasaka said in June that it was too early to say whether the carrier would consider an investment in Malaysia Airlines although further talks were possible, according to the Edge.

Calls to representatives of Japan Airlines and its office were unanswered outside of business hours.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund and the sole shareholder of the flag carrier, has hired Morgan Stanley to look at strategic options for Malaysia Airlines.

A stake sale is one of them. Khazanah’s corporate communications department also could not be reached for comment on the Edge article outside of working hours.

Malaysia has been seeking more deals with Japan ranging from bond issuance to asset sales.

Khazanah sold a 16% stake in IHH Healthcare Bhd to Mitsui & Co for US$2 billion (RM8.34 billion) last year while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants the nation to proceed with plans to issue yen bonds by end-2019.