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Oct

Philippines AirAsia pushes IPO back to mid-2018

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By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo | BusinessWorld Online

ILOILO CITY — Philippines AirAsia, Inc. is looking to conduct its initial public offering (IPO) by mid-2018.

“BDO’s working on it, hopefully by the middle of next year, we’ll be able to get it,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Dexter M. Comendador told reporters on Sunday, referring to BDO Capital and Investments Corp. which has been tapped as underwriter for the deal.

Mr. Comendador said the company expects to raise up to $250 million from the public offering, which will be used mainly to expand its facilities.

“We need hangars, we need a new office building,” he said, adding the new office of Philippines AirAsia would be located most likely in Clark, Pampanga.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes earlier said the planned IPO of the Philippine and Indonesian units is part of a plan to consolidate its Southeast Asian units under one listed holding company.

“Our first step is to list Philippines and Indonesia for my One AirAsia plan, where we have all the AirAsia units go public. Malaysia and Thailand are public. Not sure which one will come first, Philippines or Indonesia, but both are going to go public very soon,” Mr. Fernandes  said at the sidelines of the International Paris Air Show in June.

Under the One AirAsia plan, Mr. Fernandes said he wants to form an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community airline by combining its units in Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia under a single holding company. The move is expected to yield economies of scale and help AirAsia establish a dominant position in markets where it operates.

NEW FLIGHTS
On Sunday, AirAsia launched the maiden flight of its Manila-Iloilo route. The low-cost carrier will service the route with three flights daily using its fleet of Airbus A320s that can accommodate up to 180 passengers.

At the same time, AirAsia is also planning to launch new flights from Manila to Indonesia in the first quarter of 2018.

Mr. Comendador told reporters AirAsia will launch direct flights from Manila to Bali and Jakarta by January and February.

The budget carrier will also mount direct flights from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam starting November.

In May, the AirAsia Group reported that the Philippine unit posted an operating profit of P400 million in the first quarter of 2017, attributed to a rise in passenger count by 19% and surge in revenues by 41%.