Japan's ANA in talks to invest in Philippine Airlines

FILE PHOTO: A Philippine Airlines passenger jet is pictured at the tarmac of Terminal 3 at the Ninoy Aquino International aiport in Pasay city, Metro Manila Philippines April 1, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA (Reuters) - Japan's ANA Holdings Inc 9202.T said on Wednesday it is in talks with Philippine Airlines Inc's [PHL.UL] parent company PAL Holdings PAL.PS about making an investment but it had not yet made a "concrete decision".

Philippine Airlines is closing in on selling a minority stake to a foreign strategic investor, with a deal likely to be sealed in the first half of this year, its president said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the carrier was finalizing a deal with ANA. Shares in PAL Holdings surged on Wednesday, closing up 42 percent at the highest price since Aug. 2016.

An ANA spokeswoman said the airline continually reviewed its market strategy and was considering investments that fit with its medium-term corporate strategy. The Japanese carrier already owns an 8.8 percent stake in Vietnam Airlines HVN.HNO.

“We are in discussion with PAL Holdings but we have not made a concrete decision yet,” the ANA spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Philippine Airlines is “talking to several investors” about the stake, President Jaime Bautista said, but he declined to name the investors due to confidentiality agreements.

“We have not signed any agreement with any of the possible investors,” he told Reuters.

Philippine Airlines, a loss-making carrier, fours years ago hatched a plan to bring on board a strategic investor to help boost revenues and fast-track an expansion program.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales in Manila and Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman