Air Asia buys into Manila after Tata

Take Zest Air to their fold

March 11, 2013

Air Asia Berhad is buying all the minority stake in Zest Airways as Air Asia Group bids to create a stronger presence at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and break the current duopoly between PAL and Cebu Pacific.

Alfredo Yao is expected to keep majority ownership of ZestAir under a joint venture agreement similar to Tata Sons Ltd. starting a low-cost airline in India, but will cede management control to the Malaysia-based airline conglomerate. The deal is expected to consolidate operations between Air Asia Philippines and Zest Air across the country under a common brand.

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  1. AirAsia's PH unit acquires 49% stake in ZestAir

    AirAsia Inc., the Philippine unit of Malaysia's AirAsia Group, on Monday announced it has acquired a 49% stake in Zest Airways group, led by juice magnate Alfredo Yao.

    Under the deal, Philippines' AirAsia would invest in the ZestAir group by acquiring a 49% stake in Zest Airways and 100% in Asiawide Airways.

    Yao would then subscribe to shares in AirAsia's Philippine unit, which is owned by AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco Jr., Michael Romero and Marianne Hontiveros.

    In a statement, Philippines AirAsia chief executive officer Marianne Hontiveros said the airline's shareholders will infuse additional funds to add to its working capital.

    "Today’s strategic alliance between our two local carriers brings pride and joy to the Philippines’ AirAsia. I am especially delighted to have Yao of ZestAir as partner as he shares a common vision to provide passengers with the best value fare possible which enables them to fly to various destinations," she said.

    The proposed investment in ZestAir group would complement the strategies for future growth of Philippines AirAsia, she said.

    Cojuangco, chairman of Philippines' AirAsia, said the alliance "will take both companies to greater heights." "The Philippines aviation market has tremendous upside potential. Bringing these two carriers together will definitely realize this potential,” Cojuangco said.

    For his part, Yao said the strategic alliance is a great opportunity for both airlines.

    "It provides a great opportunity to realize both carriers’ common vision to widen the choice of low cost travel within the Philippines and the region. The goal in ZestAir is driven by my passion to capitalize on the tourism potential and, hence, our investment to quickly increase our fleet and expand Zest’s market share,” Yao said.---ABS-CBN News.