Biz Buzz: Flying in or out? | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Flying in or out?

/ 04:34 AM January 15, 2014

One of the scions of “Kapitan” Lucio Tan has teamed up with partners to hatch a deal to take over the majority stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines that the family intends to unload, according to the grapevine. There are two theories seen behind such a potential move: 1. The scion wants to keep and run the aviation business even as his old man wants out; 2. The scion is engineering a deal to trigger San Miguel group’s right of first refusal on the family’s remaining 51-percent stake in PAL. With regards to #2 scenario, rumored asking price is $1 billion.

While San Miguel Corp. is likely willing to take in a strategic partner (it has had talks with certain foreign airlines like All Nippon Airways or ANA of Japan to take up part of Kapitan’s stake), the conglomerate doesn’t seem to be in any rush to raise its stake, according to SMC president Ramon S. Ang aka “RSA.”

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“SMC will only stick to 49 percent,” RSA said. “I heard somebody is doing something with theirs, but not with ours,” he added. He didn’t say who this “somebody” was but this reminded us about the buzz on the above-mentioned scion.

What if the group organized by this somebody wants even SMC’s stake, which after all, is vested with the management control of PAL? “If there’s such an offer, I will have to discuss it with our partners and board of directors,” RSA said.—Doris C. Dumlao

FEATURED STORIES

Keep calm

Amid the ongoing saga of the record P4.15-a-kilowatt-hour (kWh) power rate increase, Aboitiz Power senior vice president for marketing and trading Luis Miguel Aboitiz, who heads the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (Pippa), has responded, in media briefings, with words that could very well serve as the other young executives’ mantras.

On ideas floated about requiring power suppliers of Manila Electric Co. and other electricity retailers to provide backup power, Aboitiz said: “We cannot expect the same price with backup power. It’s like buying insurance. Nobody gives insurance for free.”

Asked for Pippa members’ operations data amid the power rate controversy, Aboitiz said Pippa would instead relay questions to member-firms, who could then choose to answer the queries directly. They are, after all, still competitors. On unbridled info sharing, he said: “It’s like being arrested. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

As to what power generation firms will survive amid the uncertainty of getting paid for the electricity supplied during the tight market period around November 2013, Aboitiz said: “I think their situation is wait-and-see. Don’t judge a movie until you’ve seen the ending.”—Riza T. Olchondra

UN confirmation

The United Nations’ General Assembly has confirmed the appointment of Commission on Audit (COA) chair Grace Pulido-Tan to the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, a subsidiary body mandated to assist the GA in its oversight responsibilities. Pulido-Tan was elected in the absence of any objection or opposition from other countries, based on an official advisory from the UN dated Jan. 6.

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The appointment makes Pulido-Tan the first Filipino to serve in the five-person IAAC since its establishment in 2007. Her three-year term of office begins this January. IAAC will hold its 25th session at the UN headquarters in New York next month.

Based on the GA’s requirements, all members of the IAAC “shall reflect the highest level of integrity and shall serve in their personal capacity, and in performing their duties they shall not seek or receive instructions from any government.”

As a trivia, Pulido-Tan was earlier widely quoted for her “kahindik-hindik” (disgusting) description of the pork barrel scam that is being investigated by the COA.—Doris C. Dumlao

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TAGS: Air Transport, Grace Pulido-Tan, Independent Audit Advisory Committee, Luis Miguel Aboitiz, PAL, power rate hikes, San Miguel Corp., UN
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