Mon10232017

LAST_UPDATEFri, 27 Oct 2017 9am

MAB Minority Stake Sale Possible Option, Says Bellew

Pic: NSTPPic: NSTPTOULOUSE: Malaysia Airlines Bhd is open to selling some of its shares to other carriers to boost its value before going for possible listing by 2019.

Its chief executive officer Peter Bellew said it was normal for airlines to have minority shareholding in other carriers.

“Listing is one of the options, but the most regular option at the moment among airlines is they take minority stakes in other airlines. That is more common than listing,” he said after visiting the Airbus A350 assembly line, here, yesterday.

Bellew said Malaysia Airlines was likely to be listed once the potential minority stake sale was completed.

“That should increase the value of the company. However, we are not in talks at the moment,” he added.

Bellew said foreign carriers might be interested but said no airlines had approached it.

“In the next two years, if we get an investment from another carrier, that may significantly boost the overall value of the airline.

“Listing is one route and we may be more inclined to deal with low-cost carriers for a more detailed partnership overseas,” he said.

An equity alliance with other carriers could boost Malaysia Airlines’ financials in the future, he added.

Bellew said Malaysia Airlines would focus on improving its products and bring in new wide-body aircraft and unveil four to five new routes next year.

“There are routes where we have excess demand, but not able to serve, like Bali in Indonesia and some Indian and Chinese routes. We will have the aircraft next year to be able to do that.

“We expect to start four or five new routes in Asia next year. We do have sufficient planes and we will get better at utilising the aircraft that we have.”

He said the airline was expected to be profitable in the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, Bellew said Malaysia Airlines was awaiting Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s approval for a new carrier to cater to haj and umrah pilgrims.

“Khazanah is working through the business plan. We have the busiest charter service every year for haj under Project Amal. We carry more than 28,000 passenger annually,” he added.

Bellew said it could not provide enough seats for pilgrims from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Thailand.

-New Straits Times