Wednesday, January 10, 2018

AirAsia explores IPO for India unit

Singapore: Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd is considering an initial public offering for its India unit and seeking a partner for its services business, the carrier's group chief executive Tony Fernandes said on Wednesday. This is the latest in a series of asset monetisations being undertaken by the budget airline group, which this week received shareholder nod for a reorganisation to make AirAsia Group Bhd the listed holding company for assets across Asia.

AirAsia has already completed a backdoor listing of Indonesia AirAsia TBK PT and finalised a S$119.3 million ($89.38 million) joint venture for its ground-handling business with Singapore's SATS Ltd. Its Philippine unit is looking to raise up to $250 million via an IPO in mid-2018.

AirAsia will seek approval at the next AirAsia India board meeting to pick a banker to start a preliminary process for an IPO, Fernandes posted on Twitter on Wednesday. While analysts are “giving zero value to AirAsia India", the unit is a “very valuable asset with huge growth potential", he said in separate tweets, adding the subsidiary “was not far from 20 planes and a potential IPO".

According to Indian regulations, airlines need to have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft to fly on international routes. AirAsia India, a joint venture with Tata Sons conglomerate, had 14 planes at end-2017. Its revenue last year was expected to double to Rs. 1,200 crore ($188.44 million) and climb to Rs. 1,800 crore in 2018.
10/01/19 Business Line