Tags: Malaysia | airline | restructuring | loss

Malaysia Airlines Sees Worse Second Half Amid Plans for Revamp

Thursday, 28 August 2014 12:50 PM

Malaysian Airline System Bhd., which lost two jetliners this year, said the full financial impact from the disasters will only be seen in the second half as its majority owner prepares to announce a restructuring plan.

The carrier posted a sixth quarterly loss in the three months through June, even before average weekly bookings fell 33 percent immediately after Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine last month, it said yesterday. Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. is considering job cuts, reviewing aircraft orders, and seeking a new chief executive officer for the airline, people familiar with the plan said.

Khazanah made a 1.38-billion ringgit ($438 million) buyout offer this month to take Malaysia Airlines private as a first step in restructuring the national carrier which traces its beginnings to the 1930s. Prime Minister Najib Razak has said “painful steps” need to be taken to overhaul the airline that racked up 4.9 billion ringgit in losses since the start of 2011.

“The need to restructure the company was accelerated” after the disasters damaged the brand, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement Wednesday. “Our company has had to undergo a thorough re-examination and re-evaluation in order to reposition ourselves as a stronger and more sustainable Malaysia Airlines for the future.”

Khazanah is talking to as many as three people as possible candidates to replace Ahmad Jauhari, whose term is due to expire mid-September, a person familiar with the revamp said. The fund will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. local time today, it said in an e-mailed invitation.

Tainted Image

The carrier struggled to repair its image after MH370 vanished on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. The incident sparked street protests in Beijing and prompted boycotts by Chinese travelers. No trace of the plane has been found in the world’s longest search for a missing jet in modern aviation history.

The airline’s yields, or measure of ticket prices, fell 4 percent in the second quarter to 21.7 sen, the company said. It filled 73.7 percent of its seats in that period, 6.7 percentage points lower than a year earlier.

“We expected the impact of MH370” on second-quarter performance, Ahmad Jauhari said. “Given that, our team put in much hard work and effort to regain market confidence and rebuild sales. Tragically, just as we were beginning to see signs of recovery in all regions, we were dealt the blow of MH17.”

Flight 17 carried 298 people and was shot down in Ukraine on a route Malaysia Airlines said was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Ukrainian government blamed the downing on pro-Russian rebels in the country’s eastern part.

Retiring Planes

Malaysia Airlines retired its older Boeing Co. 737-400 aircraft at the end of June, six months earlier than planned, to save fuel costs and increase productivity, the company said in the statement. It had a fleet of 127 aircraft at mid-August.

Images of near-empty Malaysia Airlines planes have circulated on social media since MH17 crashed. The restructuring will also include cuts to routes, a person familiar with the plan said this month.

The company’s cash and cash equivalent dropped to 2.38 billion ringgit at the end of June, compared with 3.25 billion ringgit at the end of March, it said.

The net loss widened to 307 million ringgit last quarter from a year earlier, the company said. Revenue fell to 3.59 billion ringgit. The carrier will probably lose more than 1 billion ringgit in 2014 and continue to report losses through 2016, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Malaysia Airlines has lost 19 percent of its market value this year. Khazanah’s buyout will result in the company’s delisting, targeted for completion by year-end.

The airline may need to lay off between 3,000 to 4,000 people, a second person familiar with the revamp said. It had 19,577 employees at the end of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Malaysian Airline System, which lost two jetliners this year, said the full financial impact from the disasters will only be seen in the second half as its majority owner prepares to announce a restructuring plan.
Malaysia, airline, restructuring, loss
Thursday, 28 August 2014 12:50 PM
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