AirAsia subtly sets the record straight about its new substantial shareholder

HONG Kong businessman Stanley Choi Chiu Fai may have a more glamorous personality as a top poker player than a white knight in the corporate world.

Having taken a RM114 mil bet on AirAsia Group Bhd on Feb 18 the budget carrier surely felt a dire need to ‘re-write’ the perception of its new substantial shareholder as a “M&A (merger and acquisition) specialist” than his more popular fame.

According to a Bursa Malaysia filing on Tuesday (Feb 23), Choi acquired 167.1 million shares in the first tranche of the airliner’s private placement exercise via his private vehicle Positive Bloom Ltd, thus raising his stake in AirAsia to 332.5 million shares or 8.96%.

Stanley Choi Chiu Fai

“Dr Stanley Choi is the chairman of Head & Shoulders Financial Group as well as the chairman and executive director of International Entertainment Corporation (IEC), a company listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange,” is the way AirAsia introduced Choi to the media fraternity.

“He is also the only co-founding member from Hong Kong for YunFeng Capital – a private equity fund started in 2010 by a group of successful entrepreneurs and influential industry leaders, named after its co-founder Jack Ma Yun, founder of Alibaba Group, and David Yu Feng, founder of Target Media.”

According to AirAsia, Choi’s previous directorships include his appointment as executive director of Target Insurance (Holdings) Ltd from 2014 to 2019, director of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co Ltd (2013-2016) and executive director of Media Asia Group Holdings Ltd (2011 to 2015).

“The successful businessman possesses more than 20 years of experience in financial services and M&A transactions, with a particular focus on private equity investment,” revealed the budget carrier.

“He was a seed investor of Kidswant, a Chinese start-up that has now become a leading maternity, baby and children’s product retailer in China with a valuation of over US$3 bil.”

With regard to putting his faith on AirAsia, Choi remarked: “It is my great pleasure and honour to gain a substantial ownership stake in AirAsia Group – the world’s best low cost airline and one of Asia’s biggest known brands that has successfully pivoted into digital business as well.

“I believe the worst period in the aviation industry’s history has now passed. I am confident that air travel will bounce back and that under Tan Sri Tony’s and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun’s leadership, and with vaccines being rolled out across the region and globally, AirAsia has a very bright future ahead. I look forward to working with everyone at AirAsia.”

Not many people would have known that Choi graduated with a Master’s Degree of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, US in 1996 and that iIn 2013, he obtained a Doctoral Degree of Business Administration from the City University of Hong Kong. – Feb 25, 2021

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