KUALA LUMPUR—-As AirAsia Bhd. prepares to more than triple its fleet, Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes says he wants to match the growth of his budget airline with discount hotels, mobile phones and financial services.
Tune Group, the closely held parent company of Fernandes and business partner Kamarudin Meranun, may sell stock in some of the units by the end of next year, Fernandes said. Initial public offerings are also planned for AirAsia's Indonesian budget arm and long-haul unit AirAsia X Sdn., he said.
AirAsia is the world's fastest-growing traded airline by sales in the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"Tune Money and Tune Hotels have the most potential," the Malaysian entrepreneur said in a June 14 interview.
"The financial services industry is complicated, just like airlines, and we are reaching a market that they generally missed and we are utilizing AirAsia's customer base, which is huge."
The 48-year-old is targeting emerging wealth in Southeast Asia where an increasing number of its 598 million inhabitants can afford to travel and buy consumer goods such as mobile phones for the first time.
Fernandes will relocate to Jakarta this month to focus on regional growth. He will also step down as the airline's CEO from June 30 to be replaced by Aireen Omar, currently regional head of corporate finance and treasury, according to an exchange filing in Kuala Lumpur today.
"When you are based in Malaysia you'll inevitably get drawn into the Malaysian operations," he said. "I'll take on the regional role." (Bloomberg/T03/aph)
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