Sy’s SMIC plans to extend logistics tentacles in buy-in of Airspeed
The country’s largest conglomerate SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) is in talks to invest in Airspeed International Corp., a freight forwarding and e-commerce enterprise, as part of its expansion in the logistics space.
Industry sources said Sy family-led SMIC was keen on acquiring at least 35 percent of Airspeed, which has been operating in over three decades.
“It was just an investment opportunity,” a spokesperson from SMIC said yesterday.
In a separate interview, Airspeed founder and president Rosemarie Rafael confirmed “serious” discussions with SMIC were ongoing but stressed nothing had been finalized yet.
“It’s almost there but there’s nothing final yet,” Rafael said when asked about SM’s prospective investment, adding there was another group wooing Airspeed.
Asked why Airspeed was considering to bring in a big conglomerate as an investor, Rafael said the company, which she founded 33 years ago, would benefit from fresh capital and greater collaboration given the fast pace of e-commerce.
SMIC and Airspeed are not strangers in business. In 2012, Airspeed bagged a deal to exclusively handle the logistics requirements of tenants and concessionaires at SM malls nationwide.
“It’s a relatively small but good company,” said a veteran banker familiar with Airspeed.
A 35-percent stake is influential enough to affirm or veto key corporate decisions that require concurrence of two-thirds of shareholders.
Airspeed provides air and sea forwarding, international domestic door-to-door parcel and cargo services, packing and crating and long-time storage arrangements, among others. It has likewise ventured into the e-commerce space by providing the last mile requirements of online retailers like Lazada.
Based on Airspeed’s latest regulatory filing, the company has a P341-million balance sheet. Net profit in 2017 amounted to P15.1 million out of P134 million in revenues. Net profit last year nearly doubled from the P8.48 million bottom line in 2016.
SMIC debuted in the logistics business last year by buying a 34.5-percent stake in the parent company of publicly listed 2GO Group Inc.
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