SEC clears AirAsia's acquisition of AirAsia Zest

Aviation Updates Philippines - Acquisition of AirAsia Philippines to AirAsia Zest has been cleared out of the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The acquisition process will now lead to the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines together with the Civil Aeronautics Board.

AirAsia's endorser, Manny Pacquiao, together with AirAsia's cabin crew
(PHOTO) Raniel Hernandez
“Our plan is to have one operation in the Philippines and call it AirAsia Philippines. We’ve just gotten already [and] secured approval from SEC we will now apply with CAB and CAAP,” AirAsia Zest Chief Executive Officer, Joy CaƱeba told reporters. “The local government in most of the provinces that we are operating recognized the value of AirAsia in the Philippines and they've been very supportive to us,” she added.

According to AirAsia Group's Chief Executive Officer, Tony Fernandez, the company will only have one brand in the Philippines. "It would be AirAsia Philippines. It's going to be one brand," he said. Fernandez also announced that it will inject $500,000,000 cash into AirAsia Philippines once acquisition process is completed.

In December last year, the Philippine Senate and the House Committee on Franchise already granted the acquisition. Last month, the congress already approved the acquisition of both airlines. According to the Republic Act No. 9183, any change in the carrier’s ownership has to be approved by Congress.

AirAsia Zest's Alfredo Yao will take 15 percent interest in AirAsia Philippines in addition to cash, while Marianne Hontiveros, Michael Romero and Antonio Cojuangco (owners of AirAsia Philippines) will get 15 percent each. However, AirAsia Group currently owns a 40% stake in AirAsia Philippines.

Tony Fernandez also stated that it plans expansion in the country. “Yes, we want to invest more, but first we need to be allowed to invest more.” He also said that, “more investments will come after the takeover." Fernandez also plans to add 5 aircraft to AirAsia's Philippine operations every year.

“We are doing OK and the Philippines is actually the best. The volume is up dramatically. I believe it’s the first time that there’s some light in the tunnel. It’s been very tough. The whole grounding of the airline is a massive blow, but again, Filipinos have been very supportive,” Fernandez added.

“We are taking it easy. I think the demand is there and the appetite is there. We are just a facilitator to make it happen,” Fernandes told reporters.