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Philippine Airlines owner's stock surges 33% on potential Japan deal

[MANILA] Philippine Airlines Inc's largest shareholder jumped the most in more than two years after the Nikkei reported ANA Holdings Inc is considering investing in the South-east Asian carrier.

ANA, Japan's biggest airline, is considering purchasing 10 per cent of Philippine Airlines for 10 billion yen (S$124 million), the Nikkei reported Tuesday. PAL Holdings Inc, which owns most of Philippine Airlines, rose as much as 33 per cent in Manila trading Wednesday, the biggest intraday gain since July 2016.

Philippine Airlines remains in talks with potential investors and a deal may happen in the first half of the year, PAL President Jaime Bautista said by phone, adding he could neither confirm nor deny the report, citing confidentiality agreements signed with parties.

ANA didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

An investment in PAL, controlled by billionaire Lucio Tan, would provide Philippine Airlines with funds to expand in a market where a rash of low-cost carriers have encouraged more people to fly for business and leisure in the past decade. ANA has been looking to enhance its footprint in the region after decades of near duopoly in Japan, where an aging population threatens to reduce the number of air travelers.

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