MANILA Aug 22 San Miguel Corp said it
would make a decision in the next two weeks on whether it will
sell its stake in Philippine Airlines' parent PAL Holdings Inc
to business tycoon and partner Lucio Tan or buy Tan
Tan has said he wants to buy out San Miguel, and an exit
would allow the country's biggest conglomerate to focus more on
its food interests.
San Miguel owns 49 percent of a holding company that
controls around 90 percent of PAL, which has a market value of
$3.2 billion. Although Tan owns 51 percent of the holding
company, management control of the airline rests with San
"In two weeks, something will happen for sure...in two
weeks, we will know the outcome," San Miguel President and Chief
Operating Officer Ramon Ang told Reuters late on Thursday.
"If ever we exit, we have many existing businesses. If ever,
I will concentrate more on our food business," he said.
Local media reports have said the Tan group is unhappy with
some of San Miguel's management decisions for the airline,
including the cost of an early retirement package.
Representatives for both companies have declined to comment on
This year the United States' aviation regulator upgraded the
Philippines' civil aviation status to allow its airlines to
operate new direct flights to the U.S., while the European Union
last year lifted a ban on Philippine Airlines, saying its safety
standards had improved.
PAL Holdings, which is looking to retake market share lost
to archrival Cebu Air Inc, swung to a net profit of
1.46 billion pesos ($33 million) in the April-June quarter from
a 1.06 billion peso net loss a year ago.
Ang said the company has posted profits in the past four
months and the trend will likely continue.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)