Romero-owned F&S Holdings has acquired the 15.6 percent stake of Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco in AirAsia Philippines, raising its total stake to 60 percent from the previous 44.4 percent.
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Romero gains majority control of AirAsia Philippines
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The family of Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero has become the sole local owner of AirAsia Philippines after buying out the only other remaining Filipino shareholder in the budget carrier.

Romero-owned F&S Holdings has acquired the 15.6 percent stake of Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco in AirAsia Philippines, raising its total stake to 60 percent from the previous 44.4 percent.

“We have successfully acquired 15.6 percent of the last remaining shares of the local partners and we have acquired TNR Holdings for my family’s stake in AirAsia to be 60 percent. We bought TNR Holdings which is owned by Tony Boy Cojuangco,” said Romero, without disclosing the value of the transaction.

The remaining 40 percent in AirAsia Inc. (AAI), operator of AirAsia Philippines, are still owned by Air Asia Bhd founders Tony Fernandez and Datuk Karmarudin Menarum.

Last June, F&S Holdings became the new majority shareholder of the company after it upped its ownership in AAI to 44.4 percent with the acquisition of the 28.7 percent stake owned by former ambassador Alfredo Yao and Maan Hontiveros.

“This is business for me and my wife that we can pass on to the next generation. It has a very solid foundation, specially now that revenues are hitting P30 billion, so it’s a no brainer,” Romero said regarding his family’s decision to beef up to 60 percent its shareholdings in the budget carrier.

“We’re here for the long haul and it’s legacy that we want to pass on to our children. It’s a commitment that we would like to give to the Filipinos.

We adhere to the core values of AirAsia that we would like to give lower fares for a lot of people to travel and see the world,” said Romero’s wife and AirAsia Philippines vice chair of the board Sheila Romero.

AirAsia Philippines has been soaring to new heights, making 2019 a banner year with record-high financial results.

Romero said the company is targeting a net income of P2 billion this year, a turnaround from previous years’ losses.

In the next couple of years, he said the budget airline’s profit is expected to hit the $100 million mark.

In terms of revenues, AirAsia Philippines is expecting a year-on-year growth of 39 percent to P29 billion by yearend.

Revenues of the company are further expected to swell to $1 billion by either 2021 or 2022, according to Romero.

“We are now as of the third quarter at least P25 billion (revenues), so this is really a banner year and in terms of net income, this is the first year that AirAsia is profitable. This time we will have a net income of P2 billion so it’s really remarkable from previous negative. This year we broke the billion peso net income already,” he said.

AirAsia Philippines is also looking to end the year with a load factor of 90 percent, serving 10 million passengers.

“As to market share, we are the market leaders in a good number of routes. We will continue to strive on our competitive strength to capture a bigger market share from a strong number two in the Philippines’ low cost carrier realm to number one. More planes will arrive, more frequency of flights, more exciting destinations like Narita and Honolulu,” Sheila said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines is again deferring its long planned initial public offering (IPO) which was earlier targeted this year.

AirAsia Philippines chairman of the board Jomar Castillo said the new timeline being eyed by the company for the IPO is now by the third quarter next year to first quarter of 2021, assuming that the market is “robust enough.”

“On the IPO, we are still undergoing a restructure of our corporate organization. There’s still a number of things to do on the corporate side to prepare this company for an IPO,” Castillo said.

AirAsia Philippines operates a fleet of 24 aircraft on more than 500 weekly domestic and international flights from its hubs in Manila, Clark, Cebu and Kalibo.

AIRASIA PHILIPPINES MICHAEL MIKEE ROMERO
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