Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jauhari to stay until MAS turns around

Jauhari to stay until MAS turns around

By Bilqis Bahari

MALAYSIAN Airline System Bhd (MAS) group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya plans to remain at the helm until the national carrier returns to profitability.
Ahmad Jauhari brushed off talk of the possibility of his contract being terminated earlier as mere speculation.

As far as the chief executive officer (CEO)'s contract term with the airline is concerned, he said that it is private and confidential.

"I still have a contract with MAS. I will still be around to see this airline turn around," he told a press conference here yesterday after updating the media on the progress of MAS' Business Turnaround Plan.

Ahmad Jauhari's position as MAS' managing director and CEO came under pressure after the MAS Employees Union (Maseu) said it has lost confidence in his ability to run the national carrier.

His contract is believed to end next month. The engineer by training was appointed to spearhead MAS on September 14, 2011.

Business Times reported last week that Maseu wanted a new management team and they preferred candidates from inside MAS to be given a shot at running the airline.

Speaking on the matter, Ahmad Jauhari said the national carrier is currently in discussions with Maseu, declining to elaborate.

"They (Maseu) have made a few statements about the company and we are discussing with them at the moment.

"We believe in solving problems internally. This is what we have told Maseu and obviously, like any company, we do have our differences and challenges," he said.

On MAS' Business Turnaround Plan, Ahmad Jauhari said the national carrier is on track to be profitable again by end-2014.

A series of measures were taken under its business recovery plan, which include shrinking the network, a relentless focus on costs, aggressive efforts to win back customers and a comprehensive funding plan to support future growth.

Ahmad Jauhari said MAS will focus on increasing the utilisation of its fleet and making sure that its revenue growth is stronger than its operating costs.

"We are in a better position to move forward. This is not a journey that can take about six months or one year," Ahmad Jauhari said.

MAS posted a narrower net loss of RM175.98 million in the second quarter financial year ended June 30 2013 from RM349.25 million in the corresponding period last year. Its revenue, meanwhile, rose to RM3.77 billion from RM3.30 billion a year ago.

RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd said MAS' results came in stronger than it expected, although the national carrier still posted a net loss.

"We think the strategy has yielded positive outcomes as MAS chalked up a remarkable RM480 million in positive operating cash flow in Q2 FY13," the research firm said in its research note yesterday.

However, it downgraded MAS to "neutral" with a target price of 34 sen.

MAS shares rose 0.05 sen to close at 34.5 sen yesterday. It was the most actively traded counter yesterday, with 1.09 billion shares changing hands.

Publish date: 22/08/13

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