MIDF Research said the deal would help improve AirAsia Group’s dire cash position, and highlighted that the group cash balances stood at RM618.2mil based on the latest third quarter results. KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed sale of AirAsia Group Bhd’s 32.67% stake in loss-making AirAsia (India) Ltd or AAI to Tata Sons Private Ltd, India (TSL) for US$37.66mil (RM152.58mil) cash is seen as positive by market analysts, as this would raise much-needed cash for the low-cost carrier. AAI is a 51:49 joint venture (JV) between TSL and AirAsia Group respectively. The deal is expected to be completed by end-March 2021, and the cash received will be utilised as working capital. MIDF Research said the deal would help improve AirAsia Group’s dire cash position, and highlighted that the group cash balances stood at RM618.2mil based on the latest third quarter results. The research unit said with a monthly burn rate aound RM200mil during the nine months under review, any additional cash generated will be a boon to the group. TA Securities Research was also positive on the deal, saying the decision will raise some cash for the group and reduce its liabilities on aircraft leases. It also noted AAI had been reporting losses for the past few years and its shareholders funds had reduced to 9.8 billion rupees (RM539.9mil) deficit as at June 2020, and the company is in dire need of fresh investment to recapitalise its balance sheet. TA Securities Research said AAI is operating a fleet of 30 aircraft and believes that AirAsia Group will seek to novate the lease liabilities to Tata after the completion of the disposal. More importantly, the disposal will allow AirAsia Group to reorganise its resources to prepare for the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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