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Romeros get controlling stake in PH unit of AirAsia

/ 05:08 AM October 10, 2019

The family of businessman and Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero has obtained a controlling stake in budget carrier AirAsia Philippines, the country’s third-largest airline.

Romero-led F&S Holdings acquired the shares held by Antonio Cojuangco, a businessman and part owner of the Okada Manila integrated casino, F&S chair Sheila Romero said on Wednesday.

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She said F&S bought Cojuangco’s TNR Holdings, owner of a 15.6-percent stake in AirAsia Philippines, giving the Romeros 60 percent of the low cost carrier (LCC).

“It’s a done deal,” she told reporters as the company inaugurated its new headquarters in Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino  International Airport. She, however, declined to share details such as the acquisition price, saying this was covered by a confidentiality agreement.

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She said the investment was for the long-term and a “no brainer” given the carrier’s growth prospects and despite competition from larger local rivals Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, which was also an LCC.

Romero said revenues in 2019 were likely to hit P29 billion, up by about 50 percent, adding that the figure could clear the P50 billion mark in about two years. Moreover, the carrier is looking at booking P2 billion in net operating income, reversing a loss in 2018.

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla said the airline was already a leader in local destinations such as Caticlan, Kalibo, Tacloban and Puerto Princesa.

AirAsia Philippines is part of Malaysia’s Air Asia Group, one of the region’s largest budget airlines with 150 destinations and over 270 planes.  Cojuangco was the last of the original Filipino partners that joined forces with AirAsia’s founders Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun to establish AirAsia Philippines almost a decade ago.

The Romeros, which also have interests in power and ports, have consolidated control as AirAsia Philippines undergoes a capital restructuring ahead of a potential initial public offering (IPO).

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TAGS: AirAsia Philippines, F&S Holdings, Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero
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