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Malaysia Airlines suspends shares ahead of reform plan

Update: August, 29/2014 - 10:08

KUALA LUMPUR — Struggling Malaysia Airlines suspended trading in its shares Friday ahead of an announcement later in the day on a restructuring plan aimed at keeping the carrier in business following two devastating air tragedies.

State investment fund Khazanah Nasional, which owns 70 per cent of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and has announced plans to de-list and take it private, is expected to detail the reform plans in a press briefing at 3 pm (0700 GMT).

In a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange, MAS said trading of its shares was halted pending an "announcement from Khazanah in relation to the details of a proposed restructuring of MAS."

Khazanah is widely believed to be considering layoffs, abandoning unprofitable long-haul routes to Europe and other destinations, and a management shake-up – moves that analysts say are long overdue and vital for the airline to survive.

MAS on Thursday posted its sixth straight quarterly loss for April-June and forecast more red ink over the rest of the year, saying the MH370 and MH17 air disasters and associated stigma have ravaged its bookings.

MH370 went missing on March 8 after inexplicably diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course. The Malaysian government says it is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean, but no trace has been found and it remains a mystery what caused it to go missing.

MH17 went down on July 18 over a region of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels. Western leaders say it was shot down by the separatists but investigators have not been able to ascertain who was responsible. — AFP

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