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AirAsia says major shareholders looking at 'strategic options' on investments

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AirAsia Bhd, Asia's largest budget carrier, said on Wednesday that its major shareholders are evaluating "all strategic options" after Reuters reported that its co-founder was sounding out investors to take the company private.

[KUALA LUMPUR] AirAsia Bhd, Asia's largest budget carrier, said on Wednesday that its major shareholders are evaluating "all strategic options" after Reuters reported that its co-founder was sounding out investors to take the company private.

In a stock exchange statement, Air Asia said no decision had yet been reached on the shareholder's stakes in the airline. The board has also not received any offers to take the company private, it added.

Last month, Reuters reported that co-founder Tony Fernandes was considering a management-led buyout of the airline after a critical research report knocked its shares to a seven-year low.

Reuters also reported last week that AirAsia had also been in talks with lessors, including cash-rich Chinese companies, to sell a stake in its leasing subsidiary.

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In its statement, AirAsia said it had received approaches from investors to co-invest in the unit, Asia Aviation Capital Ltd, which could allow them to indirectly own the aircraft in its fleet.

Shares of AirAsia were flat at the mid-day break in trading on the Kuala Lumpur bourse. The stock is still down nearly 46 per cent so far this year after research firm GMT Research in June said AirAsia used transactions with its associate companies to inflate earnings, and that it needed to be recapitalised.

REUTERS

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