Asia's biggest low-cost airline AirAsia Bhd plans an initial public offering of a holding company that will tally all of its ASEAN operations and entities under a Hong Kong listing for the Malaysia-based carrier, reflecting an expanded regional footprint to entice investors.
"It's (about) creating a single economic vehicle that allows analysts and investors to see the group as whole," CEO Tony Fernandes told CNBC's "Squawk Box," adding that the move will not affect flight operations, though back office services will be centralized.
The financial thinking behind the deal is to broaden AirAsia's investor base and give the company "an easier set of accounts to look at," though he did not provide figures for the share sale targets on amounts to be offered, or pricing.
The new entity in Hong Kong, ASEAN Holding Co. will particularly raise its profile in the growing North Asian market, he said. But the company will retain financial links in Southeast Asia under a structure that will also see shares listed in Indonesia and the Philippines by the second quarter of next year before launching the consolidated operations, Fernandes said, without providing details.
AirAsia will also list its flight crew training center in Kuala Lumpur, following the company's third-quarter results. Fernandes has previously said he wanted to combine the airline's operations in home base Malaysia with those in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian operations have recovered since Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea in December 2014, killing all passengers and crew.