Saturday, 13 August 2011

Air Asia: Tony going to buy shares at current price?

On one side I have to admit, Tony Fernandes did a great job with Air Asia. A few weeks ago I flew for the first time with Air Asia and considering it is a budget airline the service (both at the booth, at the airport and in the plane) was simply great. It left 10 minutes late, but they apologized three times for that. It was pretty impressive to see all the Air Asia airplanes on a row at the airport. This is one of the rare recent success stories of corporate Malaysia. And an excellent service to consumers who can fly much cheaper now, prices of all airlines have come down nicely: "Now everyone can fly" seems to be reality.

On the other side, why always all the hot air? Ok, Tony is a marketing guy, and for them it is important to stay in the publicity I guess, but why overdoing it so much?

"I think it's a silly over-reaction by some shareholders and I'm personally taking it as a buying opportunity. Maybe I can get (my shareholding) back up to 20 per cent," its co-founder and group chief executive officer Fernandes told Business Times yesterday.

But the reality is that Tony has sold shares so far (with two very small exceptions of buying), and that in a very big way.

At the IPO Tony Fernandes' holding company sold 86 million shares. After that another almost 400 million shares:

Sold 20 million shares
Sold 124 million shares
Bought 1 million shares
Bought 2 million shares
Sold 111 million shares
Sold 40 million shares
Sold 33 million shares
Sold 55 million shares

These shares were sold at prices around RM 1.50, way below the current market price of RM 3.50, so why would he now suddenly start to buy the same shares at more than double the price? Very unlikely in my opinion.

There are more issues I don't like at all from a Corporate Governance and Accounting point of view, so probably Air Asia will be a regular customer in this blog. Very pity, since this was not necessary at all in my opinion.

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