* Insurance unit, AirAsiaX, Indonesia ops set for listings
* Malaysia continues to lead region in offerings for 2012
By Yantoultra Ngui
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 The founders of Malaysia's
AirAsia Bhd, Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, are
set to kick off an initial public offering spree in 2013 with
three listings worth more than $500 million.
The plan comes at a time when privatisation schemes and
economic growth have cemented Malaysia's position as Asia's top
destination for IPOs, accounting for $7.9 billion of the $30.03
billion worth of new listings in Asia-Pacific this year,
according to Thomson Reuters data. By comparison, IPOs in Hong
Kong have raised $1.81 billion and those in Singapore have
raised $3.44 billion so far this year.
Malaysia's Tune Group, a financial services-to-discount
hotel conglomerate owned by Fernandes and Kamarudin, is expected
to launch $65 million IPO of its insurance arm, Tune Insurance,
not later than the first quarter of 2013, according to two
sources with direct knowledge of the deal.
"They are looking at a market capitalisation of $260
million," one of the sources told Reuters on Wednesday,
declining to be named as the matter is still private.
CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, ECM Libra Financial Group
Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd are involved in the
flotation, said the second source.
Fernandes and officials with Tune were not available to
Meanwhile, AirAsia's long-haul arm, AirAsia X, recently
hired CIMB, Malayan Banking Bhd and Credit Suisse
Group AG for a $250 million IPO expected early next
The group is looking to list its Indonesia operations,
Indonesia AirAsia, by the first quarter of next year in a deal
that could raise up to $200 million.
The listing plans also come at a time when Fernandes is
stepping down as the chief executive officer of the
Malaysian-listed airline to focus on regional growth through
The group's plan to buy up to 100 Airbus jets, potentially
worth around $9 billion, is designed to fuel the growth of what
is becoming a cluster of related airlines under Fernandes, who
placed a record order for Airbus jets last year.
With an operating fleet of more than 116 aircraft, AirAsia
has ordered a total of 375 Airbus jets as part of dramatic
expansion plans that include the acquisition of Indonesia's
Batavia Air. AirAsia has said it will accelerate deliveries as
rising demand helps it offset high fuel costs.
Not all analysts are convinced by AirAsia's expansion plans.
Some local bankers say profits could be crimped by pressure from
potential losses at start-up units in the Philippines and Japan
and competition from new players such as Malaysia's Malindo
Airways next year. AirAsia's shares have fallen 20.26 percent in
the past three months.
AirAsia made a net operating profit of 130.94 million
Malaysian ringgit ($42.64 million), excluding one-off items, in
the second quarter this year, down slightly from the same
quarter last year. Net profit was boosted by a one-off gain of
1.16 billion ringgit following a share sale at its Thai unit.