Malaysia's AirAsia secures loan, capital raising progressing - executive

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s budget carrier AirAsia Group Bhd has secured a loan as part of its ongoing capital raising plans, an executive said on Thursday.

Riad Asmat, CEO of the group’s Malaysian unit, AirAsia Bhd, said “a loan has been approved and disbursed”, in response to a Reuters query about a report from New Straits Times that said the airline had secured a 300 million ringgit ($72 million) loan to keep it afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, citing sources, said the airline took the loan from Sabah Development Bank Bhd and that it would tide the airline over for two months, financing local operations.

“We would not be able to disclose the specifics including the lender(s) and amount involved. This loan is part of the capital raising exercise by AirAsia Group, which is moving in the right direction and we are pleased with the progress,” Riad said.

Sabah Development Bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

AirAsia has said it is looking to raise as much as 2.5 billion ringgit by year-end, 1.5 billion ringgit of which could be in bank loans.

The group has also been seeking a portion of its loans to be guaranteed by the government.

Two weeks ago, its long haul arm AirAsia X Bhd proposed at a $15.3 billion debt restructuring and cutting share capital to avoid liquidation.

$1 = 4.1440 ringgit Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Mark Potter