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Malaysia's AirAsia taps banks for US dollar funding programme

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Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd has hired lenders Barclays PLC, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd to arrange financing through a U.S. dollar medium-term note programme, IFR reported on Tuesday.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd has hired lenders Barclays PLC, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd to arrange financing through a U.S. dollar medium-term note programme, IFR reported on Tuesday.

The report comes as Asia's biggest budget carrier earlier this month said major shareholders were evaluating "all strategic options" after Reuters reported that its chief executive was seeking investors to take the airline private.

Reuters reported last month that AirAsia's founders were considering a management-led buyout after its shares fell to a seven-year low following the publication of a research report critical of the airline's accounting practices.

A medium-term bond programme will give AirAsia more flexibility when raising funds in the G3 markets - the United States, European Union and Japan - IFR reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

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An imminent launch has been ruled out until volatile global market conditions stabilise, IFR reported, citing the people.

RHB said RHB Investment Bank is one of the lead banks appointed by AirAsia. Barclays declined to comment. Officials at AirAsia and CIMB were not available to comment.

AirAsia carried 20 per cent more passengers in July-September than the same period a year earlier, and recorded a slightly higher passenger load factor - or capacity used - of 81 per cent.

Its shares have slumped 34.2 per cent since GMT Research in June said AirAsia's transactions with associate companies inflated earnings. AirAsia has defended its financials.

The airline is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Nov 26.

REUTERS

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