AirAsia active, up after news on former chairman planning MAS takeover

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 4): Shares in AirAsia Group Bhd continues it upward trend, the low cost carrier gained as much as seven sen or 2.37% to RM3.02 within the first hour of trading today.
Some quarters attribute the buying interest to the news on its retired chairman has reportedly met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on a proposal to turn around the ailing Malaysia Airlines Bhd, although it is understood that the low cost carrier is not involved in the takeover plan.

At the time of writing, the counter was traded at RM3.01 with a total of 21.60 million shares done.

The stock climbed 3.8% or 11 sen when the news broke yesterday afternoon that a group of businessmen – led by AirAsia’s co-founder and former chairman Datuk Pahamin Ab Rajab – met Mahathir to express their interest in helping the government turn around the national carrier.

Pahamin spent seven years as the non-executive chairman of low-cost carrier AirAsia, a post he was appointed to on Dec 14, 2001, before retiring on June 3, 2008.

A source close to the matter told The Edge Financial Daily that during the meeting, the group sought the approval of the premier, who is also chairman of Khazanah Nasional Bhd — the sole shareholder of Malaysia Airlines — to conduct due diligence on the national carrier in order to find the right solution.

The entire due diligence process can easily take anywhere from six to nine months.

It is understood that the group of businessmen is planning for Malaysia Airlines to remain a premium full-service carrier, while FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd would be transformed into “Asean’s first ultra low-cost carrier focusing on millennials”, the person had added.

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