Romero hikes stake in AirAsia

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    Fleet expansion. AirAsia targets to double its current to 50 in the next five years.
    Fleet expansion. AirAsia targets to double its current to 50 in the next five years.

    F&S Holding Inc. owned by Rep. Michael Romero has completed the acquisition of the entire stake of Antonio Cojuangco’s TNR Holdings in AirAsia Inc. ,a unit of Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd.

    This brings the stake of F&S in to 60 percent.

    “We have successfully acquired 15.6 percent of the last remaining shares of local partners,” said Romero, AirAsia Inc. vice chairman, in a press conference at the launch of the carrier’s headquarters at NAIA Terminal 3.

    Last June, Romero raised his stake in Air Asia Inc. to 44.4 percent with the acquisition of additional 28.8 percent from Ambassador Alfredo Yao and Maan Hontiveros, who held 13 and 15.8 percent, respectively .

    F&S said airline will be its long term business.

    The balance of 40 percent is held by Air Asia Berhad founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Menardum.

    AirAsia is projecting to end the year with P29 billion revenues and P2 billion net income driven by increasing passenger volume which will hit 10 million by yearend, according to Sheila Romero, F&S chairman and AirAsia vice chairman.

    The airline said it is the market leader in Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, Caticlan and Bacolod.

    The company targets to double its current to 50 in the next five years through acquisition of additional Airbus A320 and Airbus 330.

    Meanwhile, AirAsia is postponing its initial public offering to next year or 2021 as it focuses on corporate reorganization and seeking funds from existing shareholders.

    The low-cost airline has been looking to go public and raise around $200 million since 2015, but has shelved its plan several times because of weak markets and volatile oil prices.

    “According to our estimated timeline, we are looking at the third quarter next year to first quarter of 2021,” Joseph Omar Castillo Philippines AirAsia chairman told reporters.

    Another major consideration would be a good performance of the stock market, Castillo added.

    Philippines AirAsia was looking at a $600 million valuation and had planned to raise $200 million this year to buy aircraft acquisition and expand its routes.

    The airline, which started its Philippine operations in 2012, has a fleet of 23 Airbus aircraft catering to Philippine and foreign routes.  (with Reuters)