AirAsia Group has disclosed that existing shareholder Stanley Choi Chiu Fai is now a substantial shareholder, having acquired a chunk of new shares offered in the first tranche of the company’s private placement.

The group announced in January that it was looking to raise about MYR455 million for short-term cash needs, via a private placement of over 668 million new shares. In February, it priced the first tranche of nearly 370 million shares at MYR0.675 ($0.17) per placement share.

AirAsia A320 Langkawi

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

An AirAsia A320 at Langkawi in March 2019

Via his wholly owned entity Positive Boom, the Hong Kong-based Choi holds 332.5 million shares after acquiring 167.1 million new shares, taking his shareholdings to 8.96% on 18 February, the low-cost airline group said in a statement today.

Bursa Malaysia’s listing rules defines a substantial shareholder as one that holds at least 5% of the voting shares in the company.

Choi is the chairman of Hong Kong-based Head & Shoulders Financial Group, as well as chairman and executive director of the Hong Kong-listed International Entertainment Corporation, according to AirAsia Group’s statement.

The airline group further states that Choi is a co-founder of Yunfeng Capital, a private equity fund established in 2010 by Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma and David Yu, founder of Chinese advertising firm Target Media.

Choi states: “It is my great pleasure and honour to gain a substantial ownership stake in AirAsia Group – the world’s best low-cost airline and one of Asia’s biggest known brands that has successfully pivoted into digital business as well.”

He adds: “I believe the worst period in the aviation industry’s history has now passed. I am confident that air travel will bounce back and that under Tan Sri Tony’s and Datuk Kamarudin’s leadership, and with vaccines being rolled out across the region and globally, AirAsia has a very bright future ahead. I look forward to working with everyone at AirAsia.”

Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Group’s executive chairman states: “We are thrilled to welcome Dr Stanley Choi as a strategic shareholder of AirAsia Group, bringing an impressive track record and solid reputation as a business powerhouse to our group. We are confident that he will add value to our digital business development in China through his vast experience and network with top digital players in the country.

Kamarudin adds: “As chairman of one of the leading broking houses in Hong Kong, Dr Stanley has a proven track record in the investment business and as a member of the Yunfeng Capital, brings with him great access to key businesses in mainland China and opening opportunities for further synergistic collaborations with ASEAN.”