Malaysia-headquartered Capital A Bhd, also the parent of budget airline AirAsia, is planning to raise more than $1 billion in debt and equity, and will list some of its businesses through a blank-cheque company, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Fernandes has agreed a deal with Aetherium Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company trading on NASDAQ, and plans to list several businesses through it next year, the FT reported, quoting two people familiar with the deal. They include a new business extending the AirAsia brand to companies hoping to start airline franchises in developing countries, the report added.
Capital A has been classified as a distressed company by the Malaysian stock exchange, a categorisation known as Practice Note 17 that subjects companies to greater regulatory scrutiny. It has applied to exit PN17 status.
Fernandes first flagged a SPAC listing in an interview with the FT in 2021 but last year said he would list part of the business by itself in New York, as well as listing the super app.
According to the report, the new entity will be renamed “Capital A International” and contain a new AirAsia franchise business that will help launch airlines in countries such as Bangladesh and the Maldives. It will also include its consulting arm and aircraft leasing business.
Before the SPAC deal, the company is said to be hoping to secure more than $1 billion in new equity and debt over the next few months, according to one of the people, the FT’s report added. This includes a $150 million loan from Bangkok Bank this month, a deal agreed despite the PN17 status.
Capital A is planning a $400 million loan in the form of a revenue bond to be paid out of airline ticket sales, mostly from private credit funds. A plan to raise $300 million in fresh equity from investors in the first quarter of 2024 is under discussion, the report said, adding that the group has also inked $175 million in separate fundraising deals for Teleport, Move and Asia Digital Engineering.
Previously known as AirAsia Group, the group was renamed Capital A in January last year to reflect its new core strategy and its broadening portfolio, which includes a “super app” called Move (formerly airasia super app), an aviation consultancy arm, logistics business Teleport and airline engineering and maintenance services provider Asia Digital Engineering.