Lucio Tan open to selling his stake in Philippine Airlines

MANILA, July 19 Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:31am EDT

MANILA, July 19 (Reuters) - Philippine beer-and-tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan said on Friday he was willing to sell all his remaining stake in the country's flag-carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), and open to selling to foreign or local buyers.

Tan, who holds 51 percent of the airline's parent PAL Holdings Inc, told reporters he was in talks with possible buyers, but did not identify them.

He said he did not know when a deal might be reached.

"It depends on the offer," said Tan, who is PAL's chairman.

Asked why he wanted to sell his airline stake, he said labour problems were "a headache". PAL has faced strikes from pilots, cabin attendants and ground crew.

The airline is currently operated by Tan's partner, conglomerate San Miguel Corp, which holds 49 percent in PAL Holdings which it bought from Tan last year.

PAL Holdings said in a disclosure to the stock exchange in June that Tan's holding firm, LT Group, was seriously looking into a proposal from an interested investor in the airline which it did not name.

Last month Michael Tan, son of Lucio Tan, said in a television interview his family was leaving the airline industry.

"It is not a strategic industry that we would want to be in," he told ABS-CBN's news channel.

"So that is why it is also not part of the Lucio Tan group. It is not strategic in our long-term plan." (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; editing by Andrew Roche)

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