Malaysia's AirAsia X proposes paying 0.5% of $10.3b debt owed to creditors

AirAsia X Bhd had set a date of Nov 12 for creditor meetings to vote on the restructuring proposal. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS)- AirAsia X (AAX) is proposing to pay just 0.5 per cent of debt owed to each of its creditors and to terminate all existing contracts so that it can restructure RM33.65 billion (S$10.3 billion) of liabilities, a document seen by Reuters shows.

The Malaysian low-cost long-haul airline, a sister carrier to AirAsia Group, on Monday told the stock exchange it had set a date of Nov 12 for creditor meetings to vote on the restructuring proposal.

"To avoid a liquidation and to allow the airline to fly again, the only option is for AAX to undertake the proposed debt restructuring," the airline said in a 127-page explanatory statement for the meeting seen by Reuters that is being sent to creditors.

Half of the total liability is the cost of terminating airplane orders from its largest creditor, Airbus, for 78 A330neo wide-bodies and 30 A321neo narrow-bodies, the document said.

AAX also proposed that if it were to garner more than RM300 million in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, lease rentals and restructuring costs during its 2023-2026 financial years, all creditors except Airbus would be entitled to 20 per cent of those earnings.

It is one of many carriers in the Asia-Pacific region to have entered a court-overseen debt restructuring process to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Others include Malaysia Airlines, Virgin Australia, Thai Airways and Philippine Airlines.

The 0.5 per cent of debt owed to each creditor will be paid from operating cash flow one year after the debt restructuring goes into effect, the airline said in the document.

AAX also said it is in negotiations with lessors of 29 planes and certain other creditors on commercial terms for continued or future business relationships.

It is giving lessors the option of continuing to lease planes to AAX on new terms or to accept the termination of the lease and have the relevant planes returned. Two lessors have already indicated they want to terminate the leases, AAX said in the document.

The airline added its scheme aims to arrive at a business and debt structure which is sustainable and to strengthen the group's financial position.

To gain approval for its proposal, AAX needs agreement from creditors holding at least 75 per cent of the total debt value in each class of creditors.

The airline plans to raise RM 500 million after its debt restructuring through a rights issue and share subscription.

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