AirAsia Group’s foreign shareholding jumps to over 20% for first time since end-2019

AirAsia Group’s foreign shareholding jumps to over 20% for first time since end-2019
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 6): AirAsia Group Bhd announced that 21.48% of the budget airline’s issued shares were held by foreigners as at June 30, 2021, the first reported foreign shareholding rise to above 20% in the company since Dec 31, 2019.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, AirAsia Group said its number of issued shares as at June 30, 2021 stood at 3.9 billion shares.

According to AirAsia Group’s earlier filings, the 21.48% foreign shareholding figure was a jump from 15.72% as at Dec 31, 2020 and 14.26% as at June 30, 2020.

The latest figure of 21.48% was also AirAsia Group’s first reported foreign shareholding rise to over 20% since Dec 31, 2019 when the company’s foreign ownership stood at 26.3%, the filings showed.

The filings, however, did not indicate the company’s foreign shareholding figures as at June 30, 2019 and Dec 31, 2018.

As at June 30, 2018, the company’s foreign ownership stood at 39.06%, the filings indicated.

Yesterday, AirAsia Group said in its latest foreign shareholding update that the percentage of foreign ownership of shares in the company had not exceeded the 45% limit of the company's issued shares.

The 45% foreign shareholding limit is also referred to as the prescribed limit, according to the company.

"Pursuant to the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) (Foreign Ownership) Regulations 1996, shares held by foreigners which are within the prescribed limit shall be entitled to all rights and entitlements attached to the shares,” AirAsia Group said.

AirAsia Group’s share price has been closely watched since early 2020 against the global Covid-19 pandemic-driven movement restriction policies that have brought the tourism and aviation industries to their knees as international borders were closed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

AirAsia Group’s share price, which closed at RM1.71 on Dec 27, 2019, had fallen to 68 sen as of March 20, 2020 before rising to current levels of above 80 sen as Covid-19 vaccination progress generates investor optimism about the recovery of the tourism and aviation industries. 

At 2.48pm today, AirAsia Group’s share price had risen four sen or 4.55% to 92 sen. The stock closed at 92.5 sen, giving it a market value of about RM3.52 billion.

Foreign shareholders of AirAsia Group as at April 30, 2021 included Credit Suisse,  BNP Paribas and JP Morgan Securities plc, according to AirAsia Group’s latest annual report.

Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas' Singapore Branch owned 3.15% and 1.84% stakes in AirAsia Group respectively, while JP Morgan held 0.23%, according to AirAsia Group.

Chong Jin Hun