Creditors vote in favour of AirAsia X restructuring plan – source

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – All three groups of creditors of Malaysian long-haul low-cost airline AirAsia X (AAX) have agreed to a restructuring scheme that proposes to pay just 0.5% of debt owed and to terminate all existing contracts, a person familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: Air Asia airplanes are pictured on the haze-shrouded tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia, September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

AAX said on Friday the first of three groups had voted 100% in favour of the plan to restructure 33.65 billion ringgit ($8.1 billion) of liabilities and the second had voted 97.6% in favour.

The only creditor in the final group is planemaker Airbus, which has also voted in favour of the deal, the person told Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News.

An AAX spokesperson declined to comment, saying voting was ongoing. AAX shares rose as much as 33% on Friday to their highest since Nov. 1.

AAX last month said the airline faced liquidation if creditors did not agree to the plan, which will be followed by a 500 million ringgit equity raising.

It is one of many carriers in the Asia-Pacific region to have entered a court-overseen debt restructuring process to survive the pandemic. Others include Malaysia Airlines, Virgin Australia, Thai Airways and Philippine Airlines.

AAX needed 75% of each of the three classes of creditors to approve the plan for it to proceed.

The first class of AAX creditors includes airports, financial institutions and maintenance providers, according to a 127-page explanatory statement for the creditors meeting seen by Reuters.

The second class includes engine suppliers, lessors, trade creditors, travel agents and passengers, the document said.

Half of the airline’s total liability is the cost of terminating airplane orders from Airbus for 78 A330neo widebodies and 30 A321neo narrowbodies, the document said.

AAX also said it is in negotiations with lessors of 29 planes and certain other creditors on commercial terms for continued or future business relationships.

The 0.5% of debt owed to each creditor will be paid from operating cash flow one year after the debt restructuring goes into effect, the airline said in the document.

AAX also proposed that if it were to garner more than 300 million ringgit in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, lease rentals and restructuring costs during its 2023-2026 financial years, all creditors except Airbus would be entitled to 20% of those earnings.

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