Panama’s Copa Airlines Isn’t Considering Merger Plans

Panama’s Copa Airlines isn’t considering combining with competitors after Lan Airlines SA and Tam SA agreed to create the biggest airline in Latin America, Chief Financial Officer Victor Vial said.

“We don’t feel pressure to have to run and merge with anybody,” Vial said in an interview at a conference in Panama City.

The combination of Santiago-based Lan and Sao Paulo-based Tam will form the world’s 11th largest carrier by passengers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The transaction poses “no threat” to Copa, which is seeking to increase capacity by 20 percent this year as it adds new flights and routes in Canada and Latin America, Vial said.

Copa, with a market value of $2.56 billion, is Latin America’s fourth-largest airline by value and has 150 daily flights to 24 countries. Lan is the region’s biggest airline by market value, while Tam is the largest by revenue. Together, they will have a network of 116 destinations in 23 countries.

Lan hopes to secure regulatory approval for the takeover in the coming months, President and Chief Operating Officer Ignacio Cueto told reporters in Santiago yesterday. At least one or two other competitors would need to combine before Copa would consider a merger to boost its business, Vial said today.

Copa Holdings SA, the parent of Copa Airlines, fell 1.2 percent to $58.75 at 3:11 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, erasing this year’s rally.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Sabo in Panama City at esabo1@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Eric Martin at emartin21@bloomberg.net

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