Airlines invited to bid for stake in Zest Air

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The owners of Philippine airline Zest Air have invited bids from several airlines that could be keen to buy a stake in the low-cost carrier.

Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific, which is the market leader in the Philippines, confirms that it was "approached to indicate its interest in this opportunity". It adds that any interest that it may have is "at best indicative and non-binding" and that it is not "doing any due diligence on Zest Air".

Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia said two weeks ago that it was in "discussions about a possible strategic alliance" with Zest. However, it reiterated that "no definitive agreements have been reached and discussions may or may not lead to a transaction".

The owners of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), in which domestic conglomerate San Miguel bought a stake earlier this year, were said to be approached by Zest as well. PAL's owners also control low-cost carrier Airphil Express and buying Zest could increase their market share.

However, the airline says that it has "no knowledge of the alleged interest of PAL acquiring Zest Air" and therefore is not in a position to "confirm or clarify" the news.