Cebu Air
Cebu Air has said it will be making job cuts as COVID-19 batters down airline industry's prospects. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Manila: The Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air Inc. plans to raise $500 million by selling preferred stock and bonds, joining airlines worldwide in trying to increase capital to help cope with the pandemic.

The proceeds from the $250 million convertible preference share issue and $250 million private placement of convertible bonds will be used to strengthen the carrier's balance-sheet, it said in a statement. First-half revenue at the airline - controlled by the family of John Gokongwei - plunged 61 per cent from a year earlier to 17.3 billion pesos ($358 million) and the company said it is operating only about 15 per cent of flights compared with pre-Covid-19.

The convertible preferred stock will be offered to existing shareholders and underwritten by parent JG Summit Holdings Inc., while the convertible bonds are for new investors, Cebu Air President and CEO Lance Gokongwei said.

Cebu Air is undertaking a business transformation that involves trimming down its fleet and network while improving operations as an abrupt drop in passenger traffic "casts uncertainty over the near term prospects of the company," it said.

Read More

No escaping the impact

Airlines in the Philippines have suffered a shaky restart amid one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns, with lingering concerns over the virus and stringent movement restrictions damping demand for travel. Cebu Air in August dismissed more than 800 of its about 4,000 employees, while rival Philippine Airlines Inc. said it may cut up to 35 per cent of its 7,000 workers as part of a larger restructuring and recovery plan.