By Fe Zamora
Bilyonaryo congressman Mikee Romero has further cemented his hold on budget carrier AirAsia Philippines with the purchase of the entire stake of businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco.
Romero, through F&S Holdings, acquired Cojuangco’s 15.6 percent stake in AirAsia, raising his total shareholdings in the fast-growing budget carrier to 60 percent.
It’s a done deal. The documents were signed a few weeks ago,” Romero told newsmen on the sidelines of the inauguration of AirAsia’s sprawling office at the 2nd level of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 Wednesday.
Asked how much was involved, Romero said it was “confidential.”
AirAsia founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Menardum hold the remaining 40 percent.
The consolidation of the Romero family’s holdings in AirAsia comes as the budget airline prepares for a $200 million initial public offering possibly by the third quarter of 2020 or first quarter of 2022.
AirAsia Philippines dominates air travel for Manila to Palawan, Kalibo, Caticlan (Boracay) and Tacloban routes.
Romero’s wife Sheila Bermudez is upbeat about the airline’s prospects given the increasing demand for travel. For this year, she expects AirAsia to post net earnings and revenues of P2 billion and P29 billion, respectively,
AirAsia saw its profit surge more than eight-fold to P593 million in the second quarter on the back of a 38 percent jump in revenue to P7.51 billion.
The airline has tapped Citibank and BDO Capital and Investment Corp. as financial advisors for the planned IPO.
AirAsia has set an ambitious expansion program aimed at more than doubling its fleet to 50 in the next three years.
The airline operates several flights to and from Manila, Davao, Cebu, Kalibo, Caticlan (Boracay), Tacloban, Tagbilaran (Bohol), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Clark and Iloilo in the Philippines.
Overseas, AirAsia flies to and from Shanghai, Taipei, Incheon (Seoul), Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Guangzhou, Vietnam, Shenzhen, Kaohshing, Bali, Shenzhen, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.