In a filing to the stock exchange, Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) (>> Malaysian Airline System Berhad) said its third-quarter net loss widened to 576.1 million ringgit (108 million pounds) from 375.4 million ringgit in the same period a year earlier. This is the worst quarterly loss for the airline since October-December 2011.
"Whilst declining fuel prices have helped stem losses in our quarterly result, Malaysia Airlines continues to struggle despite efforts to reduce the financial bleeding," the company said in notes accompanying the filing.
"Certain markets, particularly China, continue to pose challenges to return to previous levels," it added.
The results are the last for MAS as a public company and underscore the challenges its majority shareholder, state fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd [KHAZA.UL], faces in restructuring the company when it takes it private later this year.
MAS' business was devastated this year by the disappearance of Flight MH370 in March and the shooting down of Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July.
Minority shareholders in MAS earlier this month provided strong support for a $421 million offer by Khazanah to take the carrier private.
Khazanah aims to delist MAS from the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange by the end of the year. This is part of a 6-billion-ringgit restructuring aimed at returning the carrier to profit within 3 years of delisting.
MAS will also slash a third of its workforce and is looking for a new chief to replace Ahmad Jauhari Jahya, who will stay in his post until July next year.
The carrier is now facing its first lawsuit on missing flight MH370 after two children of a passenger on the flight sued the Malaysian government and the airline, among others, seeking damages. The two Malaysian boys, aged 13 and 14, claim the airline effectively breached an agreement to guarantee safe passage for their father to Beijing.
Shares of MAS ended unchanged at 26.5 sen ahead of the earnings announcement. The stock has dropped 14.5 percent year-to-date, underperforming the benchmark stock index's <.KLSE> 2.5 percent decline.
(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Yantoultra Ngui; Additional Reporting By Tripti Kalro in BANGALORE; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Muralikumar Anantharaman)