Malaysian Airline urges shareholders to take the buyout offer

[Kuala Lumpur] Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), the loss-making airline hit by two separate jet disasters this year, said on Wednesday the buyout offer from its major shareholder is fair and minority shareholders should accept the offer.

MAS's directors recommended the move after its audit committee, under the advice of independent adviser AmInvestment Bank, found parent Khazanah Nasional Bhd's offer"fair and reasonable", the company said in a stock exchange filing.

State fund Khazanah said in August it planned to take MAS private in a 1.38 billion ringgit (US$421 million) offer to buy the 30.6 per cent equity stake it does not own in the company at 27 sen per share.

The fund will then delist MAS from the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange as part of a 6-billion-ringgit restructuring aimed at returning the carrier to profitability within 3 years of delisting.

MAS will also cut 30 per cent of its workforce and is looking for a new chief as part of the plan to stem long-running losses worsened by two aircraft disasters this year.

The unexplained disappearance of Flight MH370 in March tipped the airline into its worst quarterly performance in two years in January-March. Its problems deepened on July 17 when its Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The company said it will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Nov 6 for minority shareholders to vote on the proposal. Shares of MAS closed 2 per cent higher at 25.5 sen on Wednesday, outperforming the benchmark index's 0.53 per cent drop. REUTERS

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