SINGAPORE Dec 8 AirAsia Bhd has
received nearly a dozen bids for its aircraft leasing unit,
mostly from Chinese firms, including the leasing arms of China
Merchants Bank and Ping An Insurance Group
, sources with knowledge of the process told Reuters.
AirAsia is seeking buyers for a majority stake in the
leasing unit, Asia Aviation Capital, which it has valued at
about $1 billion. The company plans to cut debt and pay a
special dividend from the proceeds, the sources said.
Asia Aviation Capital also plans to add a number of airlines
as part of a plan to diversify its customer base beyond
AirAsia's affiliates, the sources said.
AirAsia declined to comment on the sale process. AirAsia
Group CEO Tony Fernandes told Reuters on the sidelines of an
event in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday that the sale process "was
getting too close" but declined further comment.
Reuters previously reported that AirAsia aims to conclude
the sale of Asia Aviation Capital by the first half of next
Ping An Insurance declined to comment while there was no
response from China Merchants Bank to a request for comment. The
sources declined to be identified as the discussions are
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting
by Sumeet Chatterjee, Julie Zhu in HONG KONG and Liz Lee in
KUALA LUMPUR; Editing by Denny Thomas and Muralikumar