AirAsia completes RM974.5mil rights issue

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group Bhd is expected to complete its renounceable rights issue to its existing shareholders upon the listing of the redeemable convertible unsecured Islamic debt securities (RCUIDS) and warrants on Dec 31.

The exercise raised RM 974.5mil and provided a strong injection to support the overall group fundraising strategy, AirAsia said in a statement.

“After the most challenging two years in commercial aviation history, the end is finally within reach. We have survived the pandemic. We have restructured, relaunched and are now in a stronger position to recover faster,” group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said.

“We have used the downtime in flying to review every aspect of our airline operations with a strict focus on cost containment and implementing an optimal network and fleet strategy to put in place a solid platform to return to the skies leaner and stronger than ever in all key markets,” he said, adding that the group had transformed into a digital travel and lifestyle services group which isn’t solely reliant on airfares alone.

Fernandes noted that its super app achieved unicorn status in under two years after it was valued at over US$1bil by Credit Suisse while its fintech venture BigPay raised up to US$100mil in financing from SK Group. BigPay is now focusing on securing a bank lending licence to expand its low rate offerings.

“The Rights Issue announced today is a key component of our overall fundraising strategy supporting a strong rebound in air travel across Asean in 2022.

“We are gradually resuming flights in all of our key markets and look forward to returning to pre-Covid levels on many of our popular routes in the new year alongside strong vaccination rates, better testing procedures and education in all of our markets.

“It also shows continued strong investor confidence in our overall recovery strategy including the digital transformation which has already received overwhelming support to date through various fundraising initiatives,” he said.

“Furthermore, we have also secured approval from Danajamin Nasional Bhd for an 80% guaranteed loan of up to RM500mil. All of which signal strong support for our transformation strategy to become more than just an airline in the digital era.

“Importantly, with today’s announcement, our fundraising strategy remains firmly on track. We have now achieved over RM 2.5bil of fundraising, providing strong liquidity to ramp up operations through next year when we expect to be sustainable and driving shareholder value once again,” Fernandes said.

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