October 22, 2019 / 5:29 AM / a month ago

Malaysia shortlists 4 potential strategic partners for flag carrier

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia has shortlisted four potential investors for strategic partnership with its national carrier Malaysia Airlines, Economic Affairs minister Azmin Ali said on Tuesday.

Malaysian Aviation Group Bhd, the carrier’s holding company, and the airline’s owner Khazanah Nasional Bhd had invited proposals from 20 investors to become strategic partners for Malaysia Airlines, better known as MAS, Azmin said in response to questions raised in parliament about MAS.

Of that, four strategic investors have been shortlisted to be strictly and thoroughly evaluated, the minister said.

“Emphasis is placed on proposals that take into account financial prudence and synergy in the operations of Malaysia Airlines,” he said.

He said the government was unable to share more details about the potential investors that have been shortlisted.

“The decision to be made involving the future of MAS is to ensure MAS has the best strategic partner that is able to strengthen MAS for the long term,” he said.

Azmin said MAS is currently strengthening its operations and internal management through cost-cutting efforts and service improvements as well as strengthening of code-sharing agreements and joint ventures with other airlines to stay competitive.

Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional’s financial performance took a hit last year, with almost half of its 7.3 billion ringgit impairment stemming from sustaining MAS. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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