* SE Asian airlines seeking to build up fleets
* Malaysian Airline System confirmed $1 bln rights offer
* NOK, Bangkok Airways, Indonesia AirAsia plan IPOs
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, May 13 Malaysian long-haul budget
carrier AirAsia X said it is looking to raise $300 million in an
IPO, throwing its hat into an expanding fundraising ring as
Southeast Asian airlines seek to build up their fleets and ride
a boom in regional passenger traffic.
The funds will help AirAsia to repay debt as well as pay for
existing planes and aircraft on order. The airline is keen to
set up a second base in Thailand that will allow it to deploy
more aircraft in different areas.
The fund-raising plan comes after Malaysian Airline System
Bhd last month confirmed a $1 billion rights offering.
Other airlines planning listings this year include Nok
Airlines, a unit of Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways as
well as AirAsia X's sister company Indonesia AirAsia. Those
three listings combined are expected to raise up to $600
million. Further down the road, Indonesia's largest domestic
airline Lion Air plans to go public in 2015.
Passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific region has more than
doubled between 1998 and 2012, putting air travel activity in
the region on par with North America, according to figures from
research firm Strategic Airport Planning Ltd which were cited in
AirAsia X's preliminary prospectus.
Fueling these expansion plans has been a surge in economic
activity for Southeast Asian nations as well as in investor
interest that is supporting IPOs across a wide range of sectors.
Travel on airline routes within and from the region in the
20 years to 2031 is forecast to outpace the global average rate
For example, travel within Southeast Asia is forecast to
grow 7.6 percent a year in the period, while travel between
Southeast Asia and South Asia is expected to grow 9.5 percent a
year compared with a global average of 5 percent, according to
the estimates in the prospectus.
AirAsia X, founded by entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, and its
shareholders are offering 790.1 million shares, with 75 percent
of the offering coming from new shares, according to a term
sheet of the deal seen by Reuters on Monday. Pricing is slated
for June 24, and its debut is set for July 10.
The IPO was originally planned for the first quarter of the
year, but was postponed due to Malaysia's elections and
volatility in global markets.
AirAsia X plans to use 44 percent of the proceeds to repay
bank loans, with another 22 percent set for capital
expenditures, the terms said.
CIMB, Credit Suisse, Maybank
and Morgan Stanley were hired as joint global
coordinators on the IPO.
Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup,
CLSA, HSBC will also act as joint bookrunners of the