All Nippon Airways (ANA) is engaged in talks with Philippine Airlines (PAL) for a strategic investment in PAL, although a deal is yet to be finalized.

ANA said it is “in discussion with PAL Holdings but we have not made a concrete decision yet.” The carrier “continually reviews its market strategy and considers investment opportunities that would fit our mid-term corporate strategy for FY2018-2022.”

PAL, meanwhile, confirmed that “talks are ongoing with possible strategic investors, but we have nothing final to report at this point.” The airline said it will make an announcement “once a deal is sealed.”

PAL CEO Jaime Bautista has recently said the airline is targeting the first half of 2019 to close a deal with a strategic investor.

Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reported that ANA is considering purchasing a 10% stake in PAL. ANA Holdings has been looking for investment opportunities outside Japan in recent years, and in 2016 reached a strategic investment deal with Vietnam Airlines.

Philippine regulators asked PAL for clarification when news of the ANA talks emerged, and on Jan. 23 PAL filed a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange. “As mentioned previously, PAL has always been open to the possibility of a strategic investor,” the company said. “As of this date, there is no definite agreement between PAL and any investor.”

In its filing, PAL noted it plans to “establish itself as a world-class airline.” However, “said goal does not necessarily involve the entry of any investor … in 2018, PAL has improved its rating internationally even without the support of an investor.”

It is not known whether an investment deal would mean greater operational ties between the two airlines, which are already codeshare partners. PAL said it currently has a “comprehensive codeshare arrangement with ANA covering multiple points in Japan via our [Japanese] gateways.” PAL serves Tokyo Narita and Haneda airports, as well as Japanese cities Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo. ANA codeshares on certain PAL Philippine domestic routes via Manila. PAL also interlines with Japan Airlines, but they do not codeshare.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com