Cebu Air Soars on Stock Market Debut

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Philippine airline Cebu Air, famous for its dancing cabin crew, achieved new financial heights in its stock market debut. It raised more than $600 million in one of Philippine’s biggest public offering this year.

Budget airline Cebu Pacific debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday as the country's biggest public offering this year, raising more than $600 million on its initial public offering.

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[Val Antonio Suarez, President & CEO, Philippine Stock Exchange]:
"It is the biggest offering that exchanged this year. It is the first transaction in the aviation business and perhaps, more importantly, it is a landmark deal in the low-cost-carrier or LCC sector."

At the close of trading on its first day, Cebu Pacific was valued at nearly $2.2 billion, larger than rival Tiger Airways but smaller than Malaysia's Air Asia.

The IPO rides on an upbeat Philippine stock market, which has risen up to 40 percent this year, making it Southeast Asia's strongest after Indonesia.

Company CEO Lance Gokongwei foresees 30 percent growth in international business, looking to add new routes and increased frequencies to its 16 destinations in Southeast and North Asia.

[Lance Gokongwei, President & CEO, Cebu Air]:
"The Philippines itself is the closest tropical country to China, Korea and Japan, so we should take advantage of our geographical location by offering affordable airfare, air travel, to these North Asian markets."

Analysts say Cebu Pacific's debut takes place amidst a boom in Asian IPOs, as well as strong foreign demand for high-yielding emerging markets such as the Philippines.

[Alejandro Yu, President & CEO, R.S. Lim & Co.]:
"Having launched successfully, the ones that are apprehensive on the sidelines are perhaps now emboldened to come in."

Cebu Air plans to use its share of the proceeds to buy more aircraft from Airbus to better compete with its regional rivals and local flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

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