,KUALA LUMPUR - AirAsia Group Bhd has raised $82 million from TPG Capital executives, Aimia Inc and others through a private share placement, the Malaysian budget airline said on Wednesday as it looks to ensure liquidity in 2021. The airline raised 336.46 million ringgit ($81.70 million) over two tranches by issuing 470.21 million new shares, representing 14.07% of the group's total issued shares. The airline said investment firm TPG Capital's founder and chairman David Bonderman and TPG Asia Partners, including Tim Dattels, Ganen Sarbananthan and Zubin Irani, have invested in their personal capacity. Hong Kong businessman Stanley Choi, chairman at Head & Shoulders Financial Group and executive director at International Entertainment Corporation, also participated. Choi has emerged as a substantial shareholder, raising his stake to nearly 9% last month, bourse filings showed. Montreal-based investment firm Aimia Inc and other local and foreign institutional funds also invested, AirAsia said, but did not share details of the size of the investments. AirAsia Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said the placement is a significant part of the group's fundraising plan. The airline has said it plans to raise up to 2.5 billion ringgit through debt and equity. "Of the gross total proceeds, AirAsia will allocate funds to support fuel hedging settlement, general working expenses, aircraft lease and maintenance payments and fund Airasia Digital business units, namely the Airasia super app and BigPay fintech platforms," he said. Fernandes last month said the airline expects more clarity on its fundraising efforts, including a government-guaranteed loan by the end of March. The airline had proposed in January a private placement of up to 20% of its total issued shares, which if exercised fully, was expected to raise about 454.5 million ringgit. REUTERS
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