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Malaysia's AirAsia Group expects fundraising clarity next month, eyes recovery by 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd expects more clarity on its fundraising efforts, including a government-guaranteed loan, by the end of March, its group chief said on Monday.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said the airline was working towards obtaining approval for the loan under a government-guarantee scheme within the next month.

“Concurrently, we have positive ongoing discussions for other fundraising support measures in many of our key markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

The airline has a target to raise 2.5 billion ringgit ($618.51 million) from loans and investors.

Fernandes said the airline can look to a gradual recovery this year in its key markets and “potentially a full recovery within the next two years”.

AirAsia has raised 250 million ringgit from the first tranche of a recent private placement of up to 20% of its total issued shares, that was completed last week.

The entire placement exercise was expected to raise about 454.5 million ringgit.

Last October, the airline said it secured and disbursed a 300 million ringgit loan from Sabah Development Bank Bhd.

Fernandes said other capital raising and financial support measures were also being considered, including for its digital businesses. ($1 = 4.0420 ringgit) (Reporting by Liz Lee, editing by Louise Heavens)

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