AirAsia may sell leasing unit as early as December to pare debt

Customers wait at an Air Asia ticket counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia.
Customers wait at an Air Asia ticket counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - AirAsia Bhd expects to sell its aircraft-leasing unit as early as December as the largest customer for Airbus Group's single-aisle jets aims to net as much as US$1 billion from the transaction and pare debt.

Proceeds from the sale may be used to reduce debt or pay a dividend, group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Tuesday (Aug 30).

AirAsia's board approved the sale process for all or a substantial part of the unit, Asia Aviation Capital Ltd., the carrier said in a filing on Monday.

"Depending on who's the buyer, and there seems to be tremendous interest, we'll likely divest all or maybe keep a minority interest for a period and sell out," Mr Fernandes said.

The company named RHB Investment Bank Bhd., Credit Suisse Group AG and BNP Paribas SA as joint advisers for the transaction.