Khazanah Nasional Bhd. -- the Malaysian government fund that holds a majority stake in Malaysia Airlines -- announced its plans to de-list the struggling carrier and make it a fully state-owned company, according to a statement released by the fund on Friday.
Khazanah, which owns 69.4 percent of Malaysia Airlines, said that it would purchase the remaining stake at 8 cents a share, which is a 12.5 percent premium on the airline’s closing share price on Thursday. Khazanah will reportedly have to pay shareholders a total of $429 million to buy the remaining 30.6 percent stake in the airline.
“Today’s proposal for de-listing represents the first stage of the restructuring scheme,” the statement said, adding that the plan “will critically require all parties to work closely together to undertake what will be a complete overhaul of the national carrier on all relevant aspects of the airline’s operations, business model, finances, human capital and regulatory environment.”
The airline, which has been hurt by two aviation disasters in recent months, has been struggling to stay afloat.
Flight MH17, bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was shot down on July 17 by a surface-to-air missile while flying over crisis-ridden eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, disappeared on March 8 while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, triggering an unprecedented international search for the aircraft, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
However, even before the disappearance of Flight MH370, which caused the company’s shares to fall by 11 percent in one day, the airline had reportedly accumulated nearly $1.3 billion in losses over the last three years. In the quarter ended March, it reported a net loss of $139 million, making it the fifth straight quarter of losses. And, in the last nine months, the company’s shares have fallen by over 40 percent, according to a BBC report.
The airline carried 3.1 percent fewer passengers in 2014 over the previous year and managed to fill only 77 percent of its seats, compared to 84 percent in 2013.
Khazanah, which said that it is in the “final stages of completing the overall restructuring proposal,” is expected to announce a detailed plan by the end of August. Meanwhile, ahead of the announcement, trading in Malaysia Airlines shares on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange was suspended on Friday.