AirAsia X sets low IPO price, raises $309 million
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian long-haul carrier AirAsia X's initial public offering today raised USD 308.6 million, fetching a price that was near the lower end of market expectations.
The airline priced its initial public offering at 1.25 ringgit per share having earlier advertised an indicative range of 1.15 to 1.45 ringgit to investors.
The budget carrier founded by aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes also said in a statement that the sale of newly issued shares would raise USD 231.5 million for the company.
It had said it would use a third of funds raised to repay debt and another third to expand its fleet.
The long-haul arm of AirAsia, Asia's largest budget carrier by fleet size, indicated earlier the IPO could be worth up to USD 418 million.
"We had orders for two billion shares at 1.45 and we had only 396 million shares available in the book-building exercise. We want to see retail investors benefit from this IPO and this is the reason why we priced it at 1.25," Fernandes explained.
The carrier will take delivery of 23 Airbus A330-300 planes over the next four years beginning in July, while it has also placed a firm order for 10 A350-900s.
AirAsia X previously scrapped London flights because of the European debt crisis and focused on serving routes within Asia-Pacific, where sustained economic growth has swelled the middle class.
It currently has 10 Airbus A330-300 planes and serves 14 routes across the region, including destinations in Australia, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has described Asia-Pacific as the world's fastest growing market, with passenger traffic more than doubling since 1998, despite fuel costs surging 55 percent since 2006.
Profit-making AirAsia was Asia's first low-cost carrier to complete an IPO in 2004.