By: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com November 25, 2013 2:13 AM
MANILA - Former ambassador Alfredo Yao expects Congress to approve before the end of the year the transfer of control over Zest Airways Inc to the Philippine unit of Southeast Asia's largest budget carrier.
The owner of Zest Air told reporters last week that the company submitted its application to Congress "a few days ago" and expects this to be approved in a "month's time."
When asked for how much Air Asia Inc is acquiring shares in Zest Air, Yao said, "It depends on their appetite. They are very interested. Up to what percent, I don’t know."
Last May, Philippines AirAsia Inc acquired a 49 percent voting stake and an 85 percent economic interest in Zest Air. The transaction also included the sale of Asiawide Airways Inc to Philippines Air Asia.
In exchange, Yao will get a 13 percent stake in Philippines Air Asia for $16 million.
Malaysia's AirAsia group owns 40 percent of Philippine Air Asia, with Marianne Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Yao holding the remaining 60 percent.
AirAsia Zest serves Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Cebu, Davao, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines, as well as international points in Asia including China and South Korea.
AirAsia Zest operates a fleet of 13 servicing nine domestic and four international routes from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).