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Malaysia Airports eyeing rights to manage 5 India terminals

Aims to conclude by year-end talks on Turkey airport strategic partners

Malaysia Airports runs the Southeast Asian nation's main gateway Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) - Malaysia Airports Holdings is eyeing five Indian airports in partnerships with others to secure management and operations rights, its managing director said Tuesday.

"We are still in evaluation stage," Badlisham Ghazali said at a news conference. "The business model has not yet been set but it (India) is a very interesting market," he added without elaborating. "It depends on the partners on how much they want to invest, so we can make more economic sense."

Malaysia Airports is a "prudent investors and not reckless or aggressive" when it comes to overseas investment, Badlisham said.

The state-backed airport operator, which in February said it plans to sell its entire 11% stake in India's GMR Hyderabad International Airport to GMR Airports for $76.05 million, is eyeing five of the potential fifty Indian airports that may be put up for private management.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport is the operator of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India for a concession period of 30 years until Mar. 23, 2038, with an option to extend the term for an additional 30 years, which it has already exercised.

Malaysia Airports primarily runs the Southeast Asian nation's main gateway Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the adjacent klia2, base of the region's largest budget airline by fleet, AirAsia. The company also operates over three dozen smaller airports in the country.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports aims to conclude talks by this year-end with two potential strategic partners in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Turkey, Badlisham said.

The company aims to keep majority stake in the Turkish operations even after inducting strategic partners, he added.

"We have been talking to some strategic investors since last year. We are in serious discussion with the two parties, but it is still in the confidential stage," he said. "Obviously, if we go to another foreign country, it is always good for us to have a local partner."

Badlisham had said in January that the company is in talks with potential partners for the Turkish airport even as the company expects the airport to return to profit this year.

Shares in Malaysia Airports ended the day flat at 8.85 ringgit, while FTSE Bursa Malaysia closed 1% higher.

--Gho Chee Yuan

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