(file pix) The Philippine unit of AirAsia Bhd is postponing its initial public offering (IPO) to next year or 2021 as it focuses on corporate reorganisation and seeking funds from existing shareholders. courtesy image

Neil Jerome Morales

MANILA: The Philippine unit of AirAsia Bhd is postponing its initial public offering (IPO) to next year or 2021 as it focuses on corporate reorganisation and seeking funds from existing shareholders, its chairman said on Wednesday.

The low-cost airline has been looking to go public and raise around US$200 million since 2015, but has shelved its plan several times because of weak markets and volatile oil prices.

“According to our estimated timeline, we are looking at the third quarter next year to first quarter of 2021,” Philippines AirAsia Chairman Joseph Omar Castillo told reporters.

Another major consideration would be a good performance of the stock market, Castillo added.

The company is being restructured after Filipino lawmaker Michael Romero bought out some investors in June to become the airline’s single largest stockholder. The budget carrier plans to raise cash through common and preferred shares.

Philippines AirAsia was looking at a US$600 million valuation and had planned to raise $200 million this year to buy aircraft acquisition and expand its routes.

It aims to grow revenues by 39 per cent to a record 29 billion pesos ($560 million) by carrying 10 million passengers this year, said Philippines AirAsia vice chairman Shiela Romero.

The airline, which started its Philippine operations in 2012, has a fleet of 23 Airbus aircraft catering to Philippine and foreign routes.

(US$1= 51.78 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Tom Hogue and Richard Pullin)-- Reuters

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