AirAsia X raises $394m in IPO for fleet expansion

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysian long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at 1.25 ringgit per share, raising 987.7 million ringgit (S$394 million) for fleet expansion as it targets buoyant travel demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

AirAsia X and its shareholders offered 790.1 million shares to retail and institutional investors - or 33 per cent of the carrier's enlarged capital - in the IPO, with the stock market debut set for July 10.

"Total demand for the institutional tranche was more than 10 times the base shares made available," the airline said on Friday.

The carrier, which competes with Singapore Airlines' Scoot and Qantas Airways' Jetstar, has said it plans to add 13 Airbus A330 planes in total this year and next to take its fleet to 23 aircraft by 2014.

The expansion comes after passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region more doubled between 1998 and 2012, putting air travel in the region on par with North America, according to figures from research firm Strategic Airport Planning Ltd, which were cited in AirAsia X's preliminary IPO prospectus.