AirAsia's Philippines unit to be listed in mid-2018, raising US$250m

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 3): AirAsia Bhd’s Philippines AirAsia Inc (PAA) plans to raise up to US$250 million from its initial public offering (IPO) that is targetted for listing by the middle of 2018.

The funds raised would be used to expand its facilities, building hangars and an office building, said PAA chief executive officer Dexter M. Comendador was quoted as saying in an online article by BusinessWorld today.

According to Comendador, BDO Capital and Investments Corp, the underwriter for the IPO deal, is working on it.

“BDO’s working on it, hopefully by the middle of next year, we’ll be able to get it,” he told reporters on Sunday.

PAA’s IPO, which has been postponed several times in the past to allow for its expansion, is in line with AirAsia Group’s plan to combine the units in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia under a single listed Asean holding company.

PAA currently controls about 10% of the Philippine commercial aviation market, which is dominated by flag carrier Philippine Airlines and budget airline Cebu Pacific Air.

Meanwhile, BusinessWorld quoted Comendador as saying that the office would be most likely located in Clark, Pampanga.

The article reported that AirAsia launched its maiden flight of its Manila-Iloilo route that would be serviced by three flights daily using its fleet of Airbus A320s that can accommodate up to 180 passengers.

At the same time, AirAsia is also planning to launch new flights from Manila to Indonesia in the first quarter of 2018, BusinessWorld said.

“AirAsia will launch direct flights from Manila to Bali and Jakarta by January and February,” Comendador was quoted as saying.

The airline is also expected to fly direct to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam from Manila starting November.

The article noted that in May, the AirAsia reported its Philippine unit posted an operating profit of P400 million in the first quarter of 2017, on the rise in passenger count by 19% and surge in revenues by 41%.

At 10.31am, AirAsia shares rose three sen or 0.88% to RM3.45 with 426,500 shares done for a market capitalisation of RM11.53 billion.