AirAsia X to wait for Khazanah sale before IPO

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Malaysian long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X will complete the sale of a stake to the country's national investment agency before focusing on its initial public offer.

Khazanah Nasional, the investment arm, may buy a 10% stake in the airline as part of a cross-ownership deal involving Malaysia Airlines that was signed in August this year.

AirAsia X planned to list on Bursa Malaysia, the country's stock exchange, before the end of the year. However, this may depend on market sentiment, said CEO Azran Osman-Rani in an emailed reply.

"We will first complete our proposed 10% investment by Khazanah and only then will we resume our IPO work. This is a matter of weeks, not months," Osman-Rani said.

"Basically we are gearing up for our IPO and when equity markets bounce back, we'll be ready," Osman-Rani added.

The carrier believes its low-cost long-haul model has a lot growth potential, but there are no immediate plans for new aircraft orders, Osman-Rani added.

AirAsia X has nine Airbus A330-300s and two A340-300s in its fleet. It has 17 A330-300s, three A330-200s and 10 A350-900s on order, data in Flightglobal's ACAS database shows.

"To fulfil market potential, we could easily triple our existing aircraft orders. However, that does not mean we are planning or executing any specific additional aircraft orders," the carrier's CEO said.

In its announcement in August, short-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia's parent, Tune Air, will take a 20.5% stake in network carrier Malaysia Airlines.

Khazanah is set to take a 10% stake in AirAsia in return and plans to acquire a 10% stake in AirAsia X, in which AirAsia has a 16% stake.