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AirAsia X says taking carrier private is an option on valuation

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AirAsia X Bhd said taking the company private is an option, after shares of the long-haul budget carrier in Tony Fernandes's AirAsia group plunged 65 per cent in the past year to become the worst-performing airline in Asia.

[NEW DELHI] AirAsia X Bhd said taking the company private is an option, after shares of the long-haul budget carrier in Tony Fernandes's AirAsia group plunged 65 per cent in the past year to become the worst-performing airline in Asia.

Sister company AirAsia Bhd also is looking at the same option, AirAsia X chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said in an interview in New Delhi on Wednesday. Cheap valuations make taking the airlines private a "very good" option, although finding investors to do so would be a challenge and there are no current plans to do so, Benyamin said.

AirAsia X and AirAsia Bhd became Asia's worst-performing airline stocks in the past year after a fatal crash by an Indonesian affiliate, mounting competition and a weaker ringgit damped investor demand. The decline was exacerbated by a GMT Research report in June last year questioning AirAsia's accounting.

"If you look on, as a shareholder, the valuation of the company is very cheap at the moment, it is very good to take it private," said Mr Benyamin, who is in India to announce the resumption of AirAsia X flights to New Delhi. However "at the moment, it's not on the cards," he said.

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