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Tony Fernandes is a larger-than-life character who is credited with revolutionising air travel in Asia through his budget carrier AirAsia. More recently the Malaysian tycoon made headlines by posting a picture of himself receiving a massage while shirtless during a management meeting.

It looks like he is taking a similarly unconventional approach to fundraising.

Capital A, AirAsia’s parent company, said on Wednesday that it was preparing to list its brand management and aircraft leasing businesses through a blank-cheque company in New York. The company said it had signed a letter of intent with Aetherium, a special purpose acquisition company trading on Nasdaq.

Details were scant. In a statement, the companies said the proposed merger would have an “indicative equity value” of $1bn “based on an independent valuation of the AirAsia Brand”.

Aetherium raised $115mn in January 2022. At the end of last year, it had $334 of cash in its operating bank account and a working capital of around $113mn.

Traditionally Spac deals are accompanied by private investments in public equity (PIPEs). Big investors agree to buy stock in the combined company at the time of the merger. Capital A International, as the new entity will be called, may raise extra cash to achieve a $1bn equity valuation.

Capital A International expects to generate revenue from brand royalties and leasing of aircraft, according to the statement.

It is not clear how much demand there is for AirAsia branding these days. Capital A, which operates budget airlines in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, was hit hard by Covid-era travel restrictions. It reported revenues of RM6.4bn ($1.3bn) and a loss of RM3.3bn ($0.7bn) last year. Pre-pandemic, it made a net profit of RM1.7bn on nearly RM11bn of revenue in 2018.

Aircraft leasing has better promising prospects, given the tight market for planes at the moment. Further details of this business are required for investors to decide whether this Spac deal is fit for take-off.

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