Air France-KLM, JAL among bidders for Malaysia Airlines: report
21 January 2020
A host of investors, including Air France-KLM besides regional and domestic airlines have submitted proposals for investing in ailing Malaysia Airlines, reports citing sources aware of the developments said.
According to a Reuters report, Air France-KLM has offered to acquire as much as 40 per cent in Malaysia Airlines while Japan Airlines, which already has invested in the carrier, is looking to buy a smaller 25 per cent stake.
Besides Air France-KLM and JAL, domestic carrier AirAsia Group Bhd and Malindo Air, the Malaysian arm of Indonesia’s Lion Air, have also submitted proposals, the report said.
The report also pointed to the possibility of foreign airlines having better prospects of acquiring stake in Malaysian Airlines as the Malaysian government has found their proposals attractive.
However, with backing from the sovereign wealth fund that owns Malaysia Airlines, a deal with AirAsia cannot also be ruled out, the report said.
Malaysia is an attractive destination for foreign carriers because of its strategic location and both bidders plan to capitalise on this, says the report.
Malaysia Airlines has been struggling to recover from the twin tragedies in 2014 - the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, and the government has been in the lookout for a strategic investor.
That year, sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd paid 1.4 billion ringgit ($345 million) for a 30 per cent additional stake in the airline, to take it private.
While details of the proposal by the two foreign carriers are not available, JAL is reported to be looking to expand its partnership with Malaysia Airlines through their joint venture.
JAL is looking to expand the scope of the joint venture, entered into last year, with flights to cover the US.
Malaysia Airlines and JAL are both members of the Oneworld airline alliance, while Air France-KLM is part of the rival SkyTeam alliance.