ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
AirAsia stock drops on speculation
AirAsia Bhd's share price fell to the lowest in nearly three months after news leaked that unit Thai AirAsia may be postponing the proposed initial public offering (IPO) in order to restructure and conduct due diligence before listing in the fourth quarter. However, AirAsia said the IPO remained on schedule.
The company's share price fell 16 sen to RM3.19 yesterday amid speculation that the airline, which was targeting to raise US$200mil from the IPO to use as cash reserves and to repay debt, needed more time to restructure and conduct due diligence before listing in Bangkok.
CIMB Securities (Thailand) corporate finance head Sithichai Mahakun, said Thai AirAsia had delayed the share sale plan to the first quarter of next year. CIMB Securities (Thailand) is the financial adviser of the airline.
AirAsia investor relations manager Benyamin Ismail said in an e-mailed statement yesterday that the proposed IPO had not been delayed. He added that the news was incorrect and that the IPO was scheduled for the fourth quarter.
AirAsia's share price has been under pressure since early August partly due to market volatility stemming from investors cutting their exposure to equities as well as a perception among foreign investors that the airline's chief executive officer and major shareholder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was selling out after a share-swap deal with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) last month.
Analysts covering the stock said the sell-down on the airline's shares was also in line with the sell-down on stocks with high foreign shareholdings such as CIMB, IJM, and Petronas Chemicals.
They speculated that the news report on the delayed IPO would have also quickened the sell-down on AirAsia shares. An analyst cast doubt on the proposed IPO's scheduled listing.
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