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Malaysia's AirAsia considers capital raising for digital business

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s flagship budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd said on Thursday it is considering raising capital to expand its digital business.

Without giving any figures, Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said in a briefing that the group could take an investment to help speed up growth, but would not need to raise a huge sum.

“We are not here to raise billions and spend it all. We just started the process but we don’t need a lot. We’ve built this on our own capital so far,” he said.

He said there was already some debt capital secured for a few of its digital units, including logistics unit Teleport, fast food business Santan and agriculture e-commerce platform OurFarm.

AirAsia has rebranded its digital arm as AirAsia Digital, which also houses travel and lifestyle platform AirAsia.com and fintech unit BigPay.

Executive Chairman Kamarudin Meranun said the digital business could provide some support for the group to weather the coronavirus pandemic that has hit its airline business as borders remained shut for months.

“In the short term, I don’t think anything can compensate (the shortfall in earnings). For the short term, it provides some cushion...enough for us to survive,” Kamarudin said.

While Teleport made profits in the January-March period, the group’s following second-quarter results last month showed that all the digital businesses recorded losses. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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