October 3, 2017 / 4:42 AM / 14 days ago

Philippines' AirAsia seeks to raise $250 mln via IPO in mid-2018

MANILA, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The Philippines unit of AirAsia Bhd is seeking to raise up to $250 million via an initial public offering (IPO) in mid-2018 to fund its expansion programme, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Asia’s biggest low-cost airline, which has nine units in the region, is beefing up its fleet in the Philippines amid an expected long-term boom in budget air travel. AirAsia first raised the prospect of listing its Philippines unit in 2015, planning at that point to take the airline public as early as 2017.

“We are working on the IPO, hopefully in the middle part of next year,” Philippines AirAsia CEO Dexter Comendador told Reuters.

Philippines AirAsia had initially aimed to raise $200 million but raised its target to fund purchases of more aircraft and to expand its route network, Comendador said.

The airline, which started Philippine operations in 2012, hired BDO Capital and Investment Corp as its underwriter.

Its fleet will reach 70 aircraft in the next 10-15 years from the current 17, Comendador said. AirAsia is one of the largest customers of the Airbus A320-family of jets.

The airline has a 10 percent share of the air travel market in the Philippines, one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The local market is dominated by Cebu Pacific , followed by flag carrier Philippine Airlines, both owned by local tycoons.

AirAsia has also said it is considering a potential IPO of its Indonesian arm. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty and Stephen Coates)

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