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New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) Mon, Jun 10, 2013

Malaysian long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X launched an initial public offering Malaysian long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X launched an initial public offering on Monday June 10 with a value of up to USD$370 million, seeking funds for its fleet expansion as it targets buoyant travel demand in Asia-Pacific and looks to fend off regional rivals. The carrier, which competes with Singapore Airlines' Scoot and Qantas Airways' Jetstar, has said it plans to add 13 Airbus A330 wide-bodied planes this year and next to take its fleet to 23 aircraft by 2014. The expansion comes as passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region more than doubled between 1998 and 2012, putting air travel activity in the region on par with North America, according to figures from research firm Strategic Airport Planning, which were cited in AirAsia X's preliminary IPO prospectus. "The focus in on the sweet-spot flights of 4 to 8, or possibly 9 hours," Tony Fernandes, AirAsia X's founder, told reporters at the IPO launch. He added that AirAsia X plans to strengthen its position in its key markets in Australia and East Asia. AirAsia X and its shareholders are offering 790.1 million shares in an indicative price range for institutional investors of 1.15 ringgit to 1.45 ringgit per share, according to a term sheet of the deal seen by Reuters. About 75 percent of the offering will come from new shares. The company plans to use 33.3 percent of the proceeds to repay bank loans, with another 32.6 percent set for capital expenditure and...

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