AirAsia, THAI in stake talks

AirAsia, THAI in stake talks

Thai AirAsia boss Tassapon Bijleveld will meet Thai Airways International (THAI) chief Charamporn Jotikasthira next week to discuss the possibility of the flag carrier buying a 20% stake in the budget airline.

The idea had been suggested by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

Mr Tassapon, CEO of Asia Aviation Plc (AAV) that owns Thai AirAsia, confirmed media reports on Friday that Mr Somkid raised the idea during a meeting on Wednesday with top tourism officials and executives of THAI, its low-cost subsidiary Thai Smile Airways and Thai AirAsia to have both rivals working together through a stock purchase.

“I plan to discuss the idea with Khun Charamporn before I can tell you more details,” Mr Tassapon told the Bangkok Post.

Mr Somkid said THAI’s strategic stake in Thai AirAsia would bring about synergies for the two rivals to expand their routes to secondary cities in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, to make Thailand a regional tourism hub, Post Today reported on Friday.

He had instructed Mr Charamporn to complete a feasibility study in two months, opening up an opportunity for the Finance Ministry’s Vayupak Fund to finance the deal, said the Bangkok Post’s sister business daily.

The Bangkok Post contacted Mr Charamporn but he declined to comment on the report.

AAV and THAI shares on Friday rose 0.93% to close at 5.45 baht and 10.90 baht respectively while the main SET Index soared 1.98% to close at 1,320.19 points.

AAV’s market capitalisation was 26.19 billion baht as of Thursday versus THAI’s 23.57 billion baht.

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