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Budget airline AirAsia X out of money, needs $120 million for restart - report

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Tail of AirAsia X plane as seen at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia in Tangerang
Tail of AirAsia X plane as seen at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia in Tangerang

(Reuters) - Long-haul, low-cost carrier AirAsia X Bhd <AIRX.KL> has run out of money and needs to raise up to 500 million ringgit ($120.60 million) to restart the airline, deputy chairman Lim Kian Onn said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday.

The Malaysian airline, the long-haul arm of AirAsia Group Bhd <AIRA.KL>, said this month it wanted to restructure 63.5 billion ringgit ($15.32 billion) of debt and slash its share capital by 90% to continue as a going concern.

"We have run out of money," Lim told The Star newspaper. "Obviously, banks will not finance the company without shareholders, both old and new, putting in fresh equity. So, a prerequisite is fresh equity."

He said the airline had actual liabilities of 2 billion ringgit, with the larger figure of 63.5 billion ringgit including all lease payments for the next eight to 10 years and its large order for Airbus SE <AIR.PA> planes and contracted engine maintenance with Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC <RR.L>.

"If we find RM300 million in new equity, then the shareholder funds are RM300 million at the restart of business and if we are able to borrow RM200 million, we feel that we will have a good platform to start all over again," he told The Star.

Lim said AirAsia X also needed to convince its lessors of its business plan, adding an unnamed lessor recently took back one of the airline's planes to convert it to a freighter.

The airline plans to liquidate its small Indonesia-based carrier and has completely written down its stake in Thai AirAsia X in its books, with the Thai carrier not part of the restructuring scheme, Lim told the newspaper.

Rival Malaysia Airlines is also in financial trouble, but Lim said there would be "no good outcome" from seeking to merge two airlines in dire straits.

AirAsia X declined to comment beyond the details published in the newspaper article.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)