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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             20  July 2011

AirAsia to raise funds through IPO

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Budget air carrier AirAsia Indonesia hopes to raise between US$150 to $200 million in an IPO slated for the Jakarta Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter of this year, company officials say.

"The offering is being underwritten by CIMB-Indonesia and Credit Suisse," said Audrey Petriny, corporate communication manager for Indonesia.

The possibility of an IPO was first announced in March. Twenty percent of the Indonesian unit of Malaysia's AirAsia is to be sold.

AirAsia Indonesia's CEO, Dharmadi, told the Jakarta Globe that the IPO and other moves are in line with the carrier's ambition to become the No. 1 Asian airline on the back of a series of joint ventures in the region.

Earlier this month it was reported that the carrier's Malaysian parent had purchased a record 300 Air Bus A320 neo jets for a reported $27 billion, the largest ever airline order. The purchase would make AirAsia one of the world’s largest carriers. The order had originally been for 200 planes.

Dharmadi said “at least” 175 planes will be added to the current Asia fleet by 2015, nearly tripling current capacity. AirAsia Indonesia earlier said that it expects local passenger numbers to grow 15 percent this year.

Southeast Asia “is as big as Europe,” Dharmadi said Tuesday while en route to a major AirAsia corporate announcement slated for Thursday in Tokyo. “So Tony [CEO Tony Fernandez] thinks we need 500 aircraft. If we do that, there is no reason we would not be No.1 in Asia.”

The airline's Indonesian unit has posted rapid growth in the budget sector and is looking forward to further expansion, according to Dharmadi, who was head of operations for Garuda Indonesia before joining AirAsia three years ago.

“We are now No. 1 in passengers carried on international routes out of Indonesia," he said, citing traffic to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur from Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung. The local carrier reported this month that it had flown 2.35 million passengers in the first half of the year, up 28 percent on the same period in 2010. Total passenger numbers for last year were in turn up 13 per cent on 2009.

In addition, Dharmadi said, AirAsia will soon open a major regional headquarters in Jakarta to serve as the company's head office.

“It will be the central office for investors to communicate with the company and for relations with Asean,” he said.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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