Khazanah Spent RM28B on Malaysia Airlines Bailouts

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Khazanah Nasional Bhd has injected about RM28 billion into flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, said Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

The sovereign wealth fund owns Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAGB), the parent company of Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB).

Tengku Zafrul said there was a plan to restructure MAGB’s liabilities of an estimated RM16 billion.

As of August 31, MAGB’s liquidity stood at RM366 million, in addition to the RM578 million allocated to it by Khazanah, he said in a written parliamentary reply.

Tengku Zafrul noted that the airline’s earnings had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 75% of its aircraft grounded due to travel restrictions.

The government is negotiating with Khazanah to find a strategic solution for the aviation group and resolve its financial woes, he said.

Tengku Zafrul was responding to Ahmad Fadhli Shaari’s (Pasir Mas-PAS) question on whether the government would pump more money into the cash-strapped airline.

Tengku Zafrul said the government had allocated RM50 billion via the Danajamin Prihatin Guarantee Scheme to companies impacted by the pandemic.

“The guarantee facility is for eligible companies operating in Malaysia in all sectors, including airlines,” he said.

MAGB has been in the red from inception. Its losses widened to RM1.3 billion for in 2018 from RM1.2 billion in 2017.

MAB was established on November 7, 2014. It replaced the ailing Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) as the national flag carrier on September 1, 2015, via a turnaround plan.

The 12-point turnaround plan entailed delisting MAS and transferring its operations, assets and liabilities to MAB. Its workforce was reduced by 30% to 14,00.

Prior to the 2014 turnaround plan, MAS had received RM17.4 billion in several bailout attempts.

Khazanah has since injected RM6 billion into MAB.

MAB was slated to return to the black by 2017, but has yet to turn a profit. – TMI