July 8, 2013
San Miguel Corporation is in talks with Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Dubai-based Emirates Airlines (UAE) for a major stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).
“We are now in discussions with ANA and Emirates.” says SMC President Ramon Ang.
Ang said these foreign airlines have expressed interest to invest in PAL and that SMC was open to taking any of them as a partner.
Lucio Tan has put his 51-percent stake in PAL on the block for SMC which has the option of first refusal in the flag carrier. However, only 40% of the Lucio Tan share would be sold to the foreign carrier due to constitutional limitations imposed on public carriers in the Philippines. The remaining 11% would be floated to the stock market to be taken by private investors.
Decision on the partnership agreement could happen “within this year.”
ANA aims to integrate PAL into its "Multi-Brand Strategy" in Asia, while Emirates aims to make Manila its "Bridge to the Pacific".
SMC has history of partnerships with Japanese firms, particularly with Kirin group, a part of Mitsubishi keiretsuin, holding 20% share of SMC, and Nihon Yamamura Glass Co. Ltd. in glass and packaging business.
Meanwhile, Emirates airline, a subsidiary of The Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the government of Dubai is the largest airline in the Middle East, where majority of Overseas Filipino Workers are deployed. They also have extensive connections in Europe which PAL expects to service soon.