KUALA LUMPUR: Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X Sdn Bhd sees its impending listing as a good avenue to raise capital, says chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani.
“We see the listing as a good way of raising capital to buy more planes to serve these (underserved) routes,” Azran said during the two-hour CEO roundtable conference yesterday.
He explained that there were limited direct flights from Malaysia to major cities and the larger fleet size would enable it to serve those underserved routes.
On top of expanding its fleet size and routes, Azran said the listing exercise would also provide AirAsia X with a good platform to expand its relationship with shareholders.
“It (the listing) is something we really want to pursue. There’s tremendous upside growth in the long-haul market and Malaysia is so deprived of direct flights to some major cities,” he said.
In June, AirAsia X announced its plan for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of 2011, subject to market conditions. While it is still uncertain, the IPO was likely to value AirAsia X at between US$500mil and US$600mil.
AirAsia X posted a revenue of RM720mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2009 (FY09) and RM231mil for FY08. Net profit for FY09 was RM87mil and the airline is targeting a net profit margin of 7% this year.
Earlier, at the interactive CEO roundtable, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority chairman David Eldon said some of the banks were repositioning themselves since the financial crisis while some regulators might raise the bar higher than the Basel 3 framework.
He said bankers were much respected in the community prior to the financial crisis and were gaining less respect these days as they contributed to the whole financial mess.
Eldon, an ex-banker, joked that these days he would tell people he was a plumber if asked.
While Azran said he did not know much about repositioning, he said AirAsia had reinvented the way people travelled, thanks to “annoying people” like himself.
He said previously travellers had decided where they would like to go but the landscape changed with AirAsia.
Azran cited an example on how travellers might be thinking of going one place but might not get the tickets or dates and ended up going to another place or picking different dates.
Despite its achievement as a young carrier, he said it was not enough and was always on the treadmill of change.
Azran said attracting talent was not just a role of the Government but also corporates and all other sectors.