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​AirAsia Group considers revamped structure, new listing

AirAsia wants to restructure itself, creating a regional holding company that in turn holds the group's regional assets.

"We are working to create a group company, which is pending board approval," says AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes in a television interview.

"We'll deconsolidate AirAsia Berhad from a group listing. A group company will own AirAsia Berhad and all our other investments."

Assuming that AirAsia Berhad approves the move, it could see AirAsia's main listing move to another country.

"Where we list it is to be seen," says Fernandes. "We talk about Hong Kong, but it could be in the various ASEAN markets, or there could even be an ASEAN stock market by then."

The AirAsia Group has major stakes in affiliates across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). These include Philippines AirAsia, Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, AirAsia India, and others.

AirAsia itself is listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, while Thai AirAsia's parent Asia Aviation is listed in Bangkok.

Without elaborating, Fernandes believes that a new group structure would allow the group to operate as "one company to get cost out."

He hinted, however, that regional governments would likely be an obstacle given Southeast Asia's heavily regulated airline sector.

AirAsia has long been a proponent of a better integrated Southeast Asia airline market. In June 2012, it went as far as to establish a regional headquarters in Jakarta, with the objective of focusing on regional growth. Just 18 months later, however, it moved most group functions back to Malaysia as part of a broad restructuring.

Fernandes added that AirAsia India is starting to perform well.

"India is doing surprisingly much better than we ever anticipated so early. We're looking at profitability in next six months of the year."

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