AirAsia boss bought shares in airline after critical report

AirAsia boss bought shares in airline after critical report

The boss of AirAsia in Malaysia bought shares in the budget airline after they dropped to five-year lows following a report questioning the company's accounting practices, Reuters reported.

Chief executive Aireen Omar, who replaced the founder of Asia's largest budget carrier Tony Fernandes to head its Malaysia operations in 2012, bought a total of 45,000 shares worth 78,300 ringgit ($20,841), according to a stock exchange filing.

She bought the shares at prices ranging from 1.64 ringgit to 1.82 ringgit per share from June 12 to 16, it showed.

Hong Kong-based GMT Research issued a report last week questioning AirAsia's accounting practices, accusing it of using transactions with associate companies to boost its earnings.

Shares in the company have since fallen by 27%, or 1.59 billion ringgit in market value, although they rose by as much as 5.6% in early trading today.

AirAsia says its accounts are transparent, and prepared in accordance with international and local accounting standards.

Asia’s largest low cost airline group said in a notice to the Malaysian stock exchange on Wednesday that management was in “the final stages of discussions” to raise a combined $200 million for its Indonesian and Philippine units, ahead of flotations of both businesses, according to the Financial Times.

New investors would inject at least $100 million into each business by subscribing to convertible bonds issued by the two units.

“AirAsia’s cash flow continues to strengthen due to capacity reductions taken last year, improved demand, especially with the recovery in Chinese traffic, and a much more rational marketplace in all our territories especially Malaysia,” the group reportedly said.

AirAsia said “strong corrective actions” were being implemented at its Indonesian unit to return it to profitability in the third and fourth quarters of this year. Management is targeting profitability at its Philippine unit by the fourth quarter.

AirAsia said it had created a separate leasing company in the fourth quarter of last year “to clearly show the company’s leasing business and to extract a fair value from AirAsia’s large asset pool of owned aircraft”.

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