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Morgan Stanley to advise on Malaysia Airlines options

Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah has appointed Morgan Stanley to explore strategic options to turn beleaguered flag carrier Malaysia Airlines around, even as it does not rule out being a minority shareholder.

Deputy minister in the Malaysian prime minister’s office Md Farid Md Rafik confirmed a Bloomberg report that stated that the investment bank was roped in to help in Malaysia Airlines’ turnaround plans.

Responding to a supplementary question during a senate sitting, Farid says that Morgan Stanley will be an independent advisor for the plan.

“[This is to] study all the options available…to view from an independent [point]…all the suitors interested in submitting proposals [and] submit strategic options to help restore Malaysia Airlines,” the minister adds.

Quizzed by another senator if the government was willing to be a minority shareholder to help turn the carrier around, Farid would only say it was “one of the options considered”.

Khazanah is the only shareholder of the Malaysia Airlines Group, which owns Malaysia Airlines. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamed is also chairman of the fund.

The sovereign wealth fund, he says, will “evaluate every available option and ensure that any decision made is based on best practice”.

He adds that will be no compromise on the airline's brand and the jobs of the airline’s nearly 14,000 staff.

Malaysia Airlines told FlightGlobal in June that MAG had submitted its own turnaround plan to Khazanah in February, covering both the airline and the non-airline operations. A decision by Khazanah is to be made in the third quarter.

Khazanah took the carrier private in late 2014 after it was rocked by the disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17.

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