Khazanah to remain largest shareholder of Malaysia Airlines

Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - Khazanah Nasional Bhd will continue to maintain its position as the largest shareholder in Malaysia Airlines (MAS) after the share swap with AirAsia.

Khazanah, which owns a 69% stake in MAS, is said to have concluded negotiations with AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to come up with a deal to save the national carrier.

In a statement, Khazanah said aviation was a strategic sector to the economy.

"MAS remains a core holding in Khazanah Nasional Bhd's portfolio," it said yesterday,

It added that reports that Fernandes and AirAsia deputy group chief executive Datuk Kamarudin Meranun would become the biggest MAS shareholders after the share swap were incorrect.

Khazanah said further announcements with regard to their position in MAS' ongoing transformation plans would be made at the appropriate time.

"As an active strategic investor, Khazanah constantly reviews ways to improve the performance of its portfolio companies and concurrently the competitiveness of key strategic sectors of the economy," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Fernandes and Kamarudin also issued a statement to clarify their position following the swap deal.

"As the major shareholders of AirAsia and AirAsia X, we are committed to increasing shareholder value in both our core investments by continuously exploring various opportunities to enhance our franchise," they said.

Fernandes is set to get 20% equity in MAS under the deal that is to be signed this week, with some sources saying it has already received the government's approval and could be inked today.

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