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Business deals

ANA to buy 10% stake in Philippine Airlines, say sources

$90m deal seeks to capture rising Southeast Asian travel demand

 Philippine Airlines aircraft taxis at the runway upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- ANA Holdings plans to acquire a roughly 10% stake in PAL Holdings, the parent company of Philippine Airlines, in a deal valued at 10 billion yen ($91 million), sources said on Tuesday.

The investment in the Philippines' largest carrier would follow ANA's acquisition of an 8.8% stake in Vietnam Airlines in 2016 as the Japanese airline moves to gain footholds in faster-growing markets.

PAL Holdings told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday that it had "always been open to the possibility of a strategic investor," but that, "as of date, there is no definite agreement between PAL and any investor."

Shares of PAL Holdings surged 41.6% on Wednesday following news of ANA's possible investment, while the PSE Composite Index dropped 0.24%.

ANA seeks to cater to the rising number of Southeast Asian business people and tourists visiting Japan.

An investment from ANA would be a boost to Philippine Airlines' bid to become a five-star global airline by 2020. The carrier recently launched nonstop flights to New York and said it will resume flights to India.

PAL President Jaime Bautista told Nikkei in October the company hopes to join an alliance to expand its network.

PAL carried an estimated 17 million passengers last year, up from 15 million in 2017, and it hopes to fly 18 million passengers in 2019. PAL has been in talks with strategic investors since 2016.

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