THAILAND. King Power International Company Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his family have sold back a 36.3% stake in Asia Aviation (AAV), a 55% shareholder of Thai AirAsia, to the airline’s CEO Tassapon Bijleveld.

The price was THB4.70 (US$0.14) a share, valuing the deal at around THB8.279 billion (US$252.3 million).

As reported, Srivaddhanaprabha and his family bought their stake in 2016 in a THB7.9 billion baht (at the time US$225 million) transaction.

Tassapon, who previously held a 5% stake in AAV and has increased his stake after the transaction to 41.3%, said that he bought back the shares from the Srivaddhanaprabha family because of his love for the airline, which he has managed since its inception. He said the acquisition will allow him to better realise the airline’s vision and direction.

“I assure all that the management team who has been running the airline from the very first day will continue to play a critical role in driving Thai AirAsia forward, along with the staff that have always been so dedicated in helping the airline becoming Thailand’s number one airline, which is reflected in our leading market share,” he commented in a statement.

“Thai AirAsia will continue to invest in 2018 as planned, which will include amongst other things, the acquisition of 7 aircraft. We estimate the number of passengers in 2018 to be around 22 million and we can achieve this by penetrating new markets in ASEAN, India and the People’s Republic of China,” Tassapon said.

In line with local stock exchange regulations, Tassapon will submit a Mandatory Tender Offer on 8 January, 2018 to purchase the remaining shares in the market (approximately 58.7%) at THB4.70.