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Malaysia Air-Etihad Partnership Possibility Spurs Stock Surge

Jun 22, 2014 4:00 pm

Skift Take

Malaysia Airlines is desperate for a partnership and Etihad may swoop in at a time when Malaysia Airlines is acutely vulnerable.

— Dennis Schaal

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Malaysia Airlines' stock has been rising after a report that Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya met with Etihad CEO James Hogan about a potential partnership several weeks ago. Pictured, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya speaks to the media during a news conference on missing Flight MH370, in Sepang March 8, 2014. Samsul Said / Reuters


Malaysia Airline System Bhd. rallied the most in 13 months in Kuala Lumpur trading amid speculation the unprofitable carrier will form new partners as part of a restructuring to revive earnings.

The stock jumped 14 percent at 12:07 p.m. local time on June 18, poised for the steepest increase since May 2013. The stock was the most active on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, with volumes 338 percent of its three-month daily average. The shares have risen 39 percent this month.

Malaysian Air is speeding up an overhaul of its business as it reels from the disappearance of Flight 370 more than three months ago. Major shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd. said last week it has time to come up with a restructuring plan as the carrier has funds to last about a year. There is a possibility the airline will form a partnership with Etihad Airways PJSC, the CAPA Centre for Aviation said in a report.

“Investors are reacting towards the reported partnership with Etihad and clear decision by the government and Khazanah to maintain Malaysian Air’s listing status,” Jerry Lee, an analyst at RHB Research Institute, said by telephone today.

Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan requested and held a meeting with his Malaysian Air counterpart Ahmad Jauhari Yahya before the start of the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting in Doha on June 1, the report said, without saying where it got the information.

Ahmad Jauhari didn’t pick up his mobile phone when contacted by Bloomberg News. The airline has lost a total 4.57 billion ringgit ($1.4 billion) since the start of 2011, and the company has said the lost jet had put additional stress on operations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Choong En Han in Kuala Lumpur at echoong6@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Patterson at mpatterson10@bloomberg.net Chan Tien Hin, Shamim Adam

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