Malaysia's AirAsia sells aircraft portfolio for $1.18 bln

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 (Reuters) - AirAsia Bhd, Malaysia's flagship budget airline, said on Thursday it has agreed to sell its aircraft leasing operations for $1.18 billion to firms managed by BBAM Limited Partnership.

The sale gives Asia Aviation Capital Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of AirAsia Berhad, an enterprise value of $2.85 billion, AirAsia said in a statement.

Fly Leasing Ltd, Incline B Aviation Ltd Partnership and Nomura Babcock and Brown will acquire a portfolio of 84 aircraft and 14 engines of which 79 Aircraft and 14 engines will be leased back to AirAsia and its affiliates.

AirAsia is expected to recognise a gain of approximately 967.1 million ringgit ($246 million) as a result of the leasing unit disposal, the statement said.

AirAsia halted trading for the first half session on Thursday.

($1 = 3.9275 ringgit) (Reporting by Liz Lee, writing by Praveen Menon; editing by Edwina Gibbs)