Financial News

  • 11 August 2014, 12:31

Malaysia Airlines Launches 'Complete Overhaul'

Malaysian officials have released a share buy-back plan to take Malaysia Airlines off the stock market, as part of a "complete overhaul" of the embattled carrier.

State investment firm Khazanah Nasional, which owns 69% of the airline, wants to purchase the majority shareholding from investors ahead of a delisting.

The move comes as the company continues to reel from the dual effect of losing two aircraft this year - the disappearance of MH370 and the crash of MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

The airline struggled with profitability for several years ahead of this year's disasters.

Khazanah Nasional has proposed buying the outstanding stock at 27 sen (0.0475) a share, 29% higher than the three-month average.

The complete takeover would cost 1.38bn ringgit (255m). Shares were suspended in Kuala Lumpur ahead of the announcement.

"The proposed restructuring will critically require all parties to work closely together to undertake what will be a complete overhaul of the national carrier," Khazanah said in a statement.

"Nothing less will be required in order to revive our national airline to be profitable as a commercial entity and to serve its function as a critical national development entity."

Before this year's disasters, the carrier's financial performance was among the worst in the industry, putting a question mark over its future.

Some industry experts recently voiced concern of its ability to survive without a major cash injection from the Malaysian government.

Branding specialists have said Malaysia Airlines must take dramatic steps such as replacing its senior management and a name change.

As a state-owned flag carrier, the airline must fly unprofitable domestic routes.

Its workforce has a strong union presence that has resisted operational changes, amid the rise of low-cost regional rivals.

Khazanah said the plan required approvals from regulators and Malaysia's finance minister.

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