AirAsia X major shareholders to take up rights issue

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia X Bhd’s major shareholders have given their commitments to subscribe for the rights issue of up to RM201.09mil under its recovery plan.

The long-haul low-cost affiliate of AirAsia said on Friday the commitment would be based on their current shareholdings in AAX of up to RM201.09mil subject to the final issue price of the rights shares on the price fixing date to be announced later.

Their commitment involved up to 50.92% of AAX’s paid-up share capital or 1.207 billion shares.

AAX said to ensure the above subscription level was maintained, the shareholders would not sell any part or all of their shares prior to the entitlement date for the proposed rights Issue with warrants.

The undertaking shareholders are Tune Group Sdn Bhd which owns 422.63 million shares of 17.83%; AirAsia Bhd 326.13 million shares or 13.76%; Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (49.88 million shares or 2.1%).

The others are Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (192.97 million shares or 8.14%); Dato’ Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan (102.93 million shares or 4.34%) and Lim Kian Onn (112.44 million shares or 4.47%).

In late March, shareholders voted in favour of its cash call to raise up to RM395mil under its recovery plan.

The cash call involves a proposed renounceable rights issue with free detachable warrants. This is the first major corporate exercise taken by the company since the management revamp in late January.

AAX, which made its listing debut in July 2013 reported a quarterly profit only once since its listing. 

In July last year, former CEO Azran Osman-Rani reportedly said he expected AAX to swing into the black in the second half of 2014.  However, it did not go that way due to the difficult operating environment. 

AAX made its worst net quarterly loss as a listed entity in the third quarter (RM210.8mil) and the fourth quarter added a net loss of RM168.4mil.

Net loss ballooned in the last financial year ended Dec 31, 2014, to RM519.3mil from RM88.3mil in 2013. This was despite a 27% jump in revenue to RM2.94bil and the group making an extraordinary gain last year after disposing off its aircraft amounting to RM659.8mil (there was no such disposal in 2013).

According to Maybank Investment Bank Research, the rights issue is the key for AAX’s survival. It said AAX’s outlook in the first quarter ending March 31, 2015 is “grim”. 
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