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New investor agrees to inject up to $100mln into AirAsia's Thai unit

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Reuters) - A unnamed investor has agreed to inject up to 3.15 billion baht($100.41 million) into the Thai unit of AirAsia Group Bhd as part of a restructuring plan proposed by parent company Asia Aviation PCL , a Tuesday filing said.

The investor will provide the amount via an interest-free convertible loan or bond, an Asia Aviation filing posted by AirAsia on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange showed.

Asia Aviation said it had not been able to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and did not consider the situation to be returning to normal.

In order to continue its operation “steadily and effectively”, it had contacted an investor at the beginning of year to seek support in increasing the company’s short-, medium- and long-term liquidity, the filing said.

Thai AirAsia, the main operating subsidiary of Asia Aviation, is 45% owned by Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Group.

Once Thai AirAsia has received regulatory approval to offer shares in an initial public offering (IPO), the investor expects to convert the loan or bond into ordinary shares at a rate of 20.3925 baht per share, the filing said, giving them a direct stake in the airline.

The investor, which does not currently have a connection to Asia Aviation or Thai AirAsia, is expected to complete due diligence on the business in May, with the transaction completed in June. Preparation for the IPO is likely to take more than seven months.

Asia Aviation also suggested liquidating itself and allocating its assets to its shareholders, giving them a direct shareholding in Thai AirAsia. ($1 = 31.3700 baht) (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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