AirAsia to sell 32.67% stake in its Indian operations to Tata Sons

REUTERS/Beawiharta

Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd said on Tuesday it plans to sell 32.67% of its stake in its Indian operations to majority shareholder Tata Sons for $37.7 million.

The airline, which until now owned 49% of AirAsia India as part of a joint venture with the Indian conglomerate, said the sale would allow it to focus on its recovery in its key Southeast Asian markets amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.

“The directors having considered the rationale for the transaction and after careful consideration, are of the opinion unanimously that the transaction is in the best interest of AirAsia and its shareholders,” the airline said in a bourse filing.

The announcement comes two months after AirAsia shut its operations in Japan, citing highly challenging conditions amid the pandemic.

Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes told Reuters in September that the group intended to consolidate and strengthen its foothold in Southeast Asia, which could mean exiting both Japan and India.

Last month, AirAsia announced it was reviewing its investment in India, saying its operations there had been draining cash and adding to the group’s financial stress.

AirAsia Group said it expects to complete the sale to Tata Sons by March 2021.

The group said it has also agreed to waive unpaid brand license fees payable by AirAsia India to subsidiary AirAsia Berhad.

The airline reported its fifth consecutive quarterly loss in the July-September period as the pandemic took its toll on travel.

Fernandes has said the company had disposed of spare engines to raise cash and was open to other potential monetisation opportunities.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.