Philippine Airlines in sale talks with San Miguel

Philippine Airlines said Friday it was in talks to sell a stake in the loss-making flag carrier to local conglomerate San Miguel.

"Talks are definitely ongoing," airline spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna told AFP when asked to confirm media reports that negotiations were under way.

"As to the acquisition of shares and details of the negotiations, we are bound by non-disclosure until (the) fine print of the deal is reached."

Related Research on

Global Commercial Aircraft Market - 2018-2036

One report said San Miguel planned to pay $500 million for a 49-percent stake in PAL and take management control, but Villaluna refused to discuss details.

A San Miguel spokeswoman did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment.

PAL, majority owned by Philippine tycoon Lucio Tan, suffered a 1.45-billion-peso ($34 million) pre-tax loss in the three months to December 2011, its listed parent firm, PAL Holdings, reported on Tuesday.

PAL was forced to cancel many flights during that quarter amid industrial action as airline management outsourced 2,600 jobs in in-flight catering, airport services and call centre reservations in an effort to cut costs.

The latest result put the airline 3.60 billion pesos in the red in the first nine months of its current fiscal year, according to the parent firm.

PAL had a near-monopoly on the domestic aviation market two decades ago but now ranks second in terms of number of flights behind local budget carrier Cebu Pacific.

San Miguel, one of the country's largest companies, has aggressively expanded its focus over the past few years from its core brewing operations into oil refining, electricity, toll roads, and construction.

by Chantal Valery © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Feb 24, 2012