International Asia Businessmen raising $330m to secure Malaysia Airlines deal

Businessmen raising $330m to secure Malaysia Airlines deal

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KUALA LUMPUR — A group of businessmen led by AirAsia Group Bhd co-founder Pahamin Ab Rajab is seeking about RM1 billion or Singapore dollar 330 million from a Japanese lender to support a bid to secure the take over of ailing Malaysia Airlines Bhd.

The company Najah Air Sdn Bhd is in talks with the lender but it is still the early stages and no guarantee is given that the deal wil happen, reports The Edge Markets.

The Malaysian national carrier is losing money and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said last week the government might ground all the flights to cut operating costs.

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The government is also waiting for concrete offers for a reliable salvation plan for the airline. The decision to sell the airline came into light after Dr Mahathir said he was okay with the sale in June.

This caused ex-PM Najib Razak to plead for the airline saying the government should continue pumping taxpayer’s money in the loss making entity.

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If Najah Air takes over the airline, the Japanese lender will become the main funding source for the takeover, the Edge Financial Daily reports.

Earlier this month, a group of businessmen met with Dr Mahathir to discuss take over plans which has to come with a turnaround strategy and the airline keeping its national carrier status.

Dr Mahathir had said the sale will not mean the airline will not be called national carrier and insisted there should not be any job loss in the process.

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However, blogger Gunesh Sahathevan says the group in the takeover bid does not have the track record to justify a deal with them.

The Edge Markets also says tycoon Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim of Weststar Group, invited by Khazanah Nasional Bhd (the sole owner of the Malaysia Airline), is in talks with Najah Air. They want to team up to take over the airline.

Malaysia Airlines’ net loss increased by 85% year on year to RM812.11 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17). It has yet to file its financial statements for FY18, reports The Edge Markets.

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