Firm plans $2.5 billion capital boost in Malaysia Airlines takeover bid - report

Malaysia Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian company has proposed a fresh capital injection and to assume the debts of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), in a formal takeover bid of the ailing national carrier, according to a report by The Edge Malaysia.

The Malaysian government has been seeking a strategic partner for its national airline, which has struggled to recover from two tragedies in 2014 - the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

Golden Skies Ventures Sdn Bhd (GSV), a firm set up earlier this year by ex-MAS employees and private individuals, has offered a capital injection of 11 billion ringgit ($2.53 billion) and to assume the airline's full outstanding Islamic bonds or sukuk, its chief executive Shahril Lamin was quoted as saying by The Edge.

In return, GSV is seeking 100% equity of Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd, which includes MAS and other subsidies such as MAB Kargo, MAB Engineering, Firefly and MASwings.

GSV said it will continue to position MAS as a premium airline, and projects profitability within two to three years of the takeover, on the assumption that Malaysia contains the new coronavirus outbreak by June.

Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd took MAS private in 2014, spending 1.4 billion ringgit for the 30% of the company it did not already own.

Besides GSV, offers have also come from Air France-KLM, Japan Airlines, low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd and Malindo Air, the Malaysian arm of Indonesia's Lion Air, sources have said.

($1 = 4.3560 ringgit)

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)