AirAsia Group sells a 32.7% stake in its India venture AirAsia India to Tata Sons, the holding company of the $113 billion “salt-to-software” conglomerate.
AirAsia Group executed a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) following which the company agreed to sell 32.67% of AirAsia India shares to Tata Sons for almost $38 million, based on a filing to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. After the deal is finalized, AirAsia Group will hold a 16,33% stake in AirAsia India while Tata Sons will hold 83,67% as it already controls 51% of the stake in the Indian venture.
AirAsia Group hopes that Air Asia India stake sale would reduce the cash burn in the short term and allow the company “to concentrate on the recovery of its key markets in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the long run“, read in a filing.
AirAsia Group put a cash-strapped AirAsia India on sale straight after its Japan venture AirAsia Japan filed for bankruptcy proceedings in the Tokyo District Court in November 2020. It is understood that the group had concerns about a possible bankruptcy of AirAsia India when it started reviewing its investments.
The company stopped funding the Indian airline, leaving Tata Sons as the main rescue for the struggling airline. Being the owner of a controlling stake in AirAsia India, Tata Sons decided to keep the airline afloat by an emergency funding of $50 million. However, it is not clear yet if promised funding has been injected into the air carrier.
Despite the financial asperities, on November 30, 2020, AirAsia India announced its plans for the fleet expansion. The low-budget air carrier has already added one Airbus A320neo jet to the fleet and looks forward to adding two more A320neos by June 2021. As for now, the airline’s fleet consists of 30 Airbus A320-200 and 3 Airbus A320neo aircraft. Following AAI’s fleet boost, the airline said it was projecting to increase its operational capacity up to 70% from 55% at present.