Malaysian Airline maps out $798 mln sukuk route

KUALA LUMPUR Tue May 22, 2012 8:50am EDT

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KUALA LUMPUR May 22 (Reuters) - Malaysian Airline System said on Tuesday it planned a 10-year, 2.5 billion ringgit ($798 million) sukuk programme to shore up its capital base under a three-pronged funding pillar.

The funding plan is part of the ailing national carrier's strategy to return to profitability after posting a narrower first-quarter net loss.

"We anticipate drawing down the first tranche of 1 billion ringgit of the proposed sukuk some time in June 2012, once all regulatory approvals are cleared," MAS said.

MAS also said it had secured a bridging loan of 1 billion ringgit from a local commercial bank on March 30, to ensure its working capital cash balances remained adequate until the expected drawdown of the first tranche of sharia law-compliant sukuk.

The second funding pillar entailed the leasing of six new Airbus A380s and two new Airbus A330s, with a total capital value of 5.3 billion ringgit, according to the airline.

The third pillar involved the commercial funding of its aircraft capital expenditure, MAS added.

MAS shares closed 0.97 percent lower on Tuesday at a record-low 1.02 ringgit, underperforming Malaysia's benchmark stock index, which ended the day 0.52 percent higher.

($1 = 3.1335 Malaysian ringgits) (Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by David Hulmes)

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