Saturday, January 16, 2010

Most AirAsia shares in foreign hands

16 January 2010

PETALING JAYA: The majority of AirAsia Bhd shares are in the hands of foreigners while the bulk of shares in its rival Malaysia Airlines (MAS) are held by local institutions.

AirAsia announced to Bursa Malaysia yesterday that 50.36% of its issued and paid-up share capital was held by foreigners as at end-2009, compared with 37.98% foreign shareholding in June. It did not name the foreign shareholders.

AirAsia told the exchange that foreign ownership of shares in the company had exceeded the limit of 45% of its total issued and paid-up share capital.

The airline, however, did not say how it would regularise the shareholding but an analyst contacted by StarBizWeek said AirAsia would have to take steps to regularise it but it had some time to do so.

“It (the share transaction) is market driven as those who bought the shares must have believed that the travel sector was seeing signs of improvement for them to buy into AirAsia,” said the analyst.

The airline said the shares held by foreigners within the prescribed limit shall be entitled to all rights and entitlements attached to the shares. Shares held by foreigners which have exceeded the prescribed limit shall also be entitled to all such rights and entitlements except for the exercise of voting rights in respect of the shares.

Meanwhile, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had over the past month also been picking up some more shares in MAS. Its shareholding in the national carrier increased marginally from 12.57% as at April 20, 2009 to 13.59% as at end December. Accordingly, local institutions now hold 90.4% stake in MAS. EPF also had a 8.91% direct stake in AirAsia as at end of last year.

As at April 20, 2009, MAS was 52% owned by Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd, Khazanah Nasional Bhd has 14.33%, EPF 12.57%, Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera 5.34%, State Financial Secretary Sarawak 2.71% and Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd 2.4%.

MAS was down 0.3 sen to RM2.96 while AirAsia shed 0.2 sen to RM1.41 yesterday.

By B.K.Sidhu

The Star

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