AirAsia plans US$1-billion bond programme to finance debt, planes

Air Asia plans to raise US$1 billion (S$1.42 billion) to refinance debt.
Air Asia plans to raise US$1 billion (S$1.42 billion) to refinance debt.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - AirAsia Bhd., South-east Asia's biggest budget carrier, plans to raise as much as US$1 billion (S$1.42 billion) under a multi-currency medium-term note programme to refinance debt and buy airplanes after last year's plunge in the Malaysian ringgit pushed the carrier to a third-quarter net loss.

The airline's AirAsia Global Notes Ltd. unit can issue bonds under the programme in US dollars or other currencies, AirAsia said on Wednesday (Jan 6) in an exchange filing in Kuala Lumpur. Deal managers Barclays Bank Plc, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. and RHB Investment Bank Bhd. will start arranging investor meetings in Singapore, Hong Kong and London from Jan 7, the airline said.

Shares of AirAsia have plunged about 45 per cent in the past year, hit by a June 10 report from GMT Research questioning the carrier's accounting and exacerbated by ringgit depreciation, mounting competition and a December 2014 plane crash at its Indonesian affiliate. The company slipped to a net loss of RM405.7 million (S$131.8 million) in the quarter through September after suffering losses from foreign exchange and its Indonesian associates.

AirAsia was up 2.2 per cent to 1.37 ringgit as of 3.40pm in Kuala Lumpur, compared with a 0.6 per cent gain in the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index.

Proceeds from the bond sale will be used to refinance debt and fund aircraft purchases or other investment opportunities, the company said. The notes will be offered and sold outside the US, AirAsia said, citing US securities regulations.