San Miguel Held Early Talks With Japan’s ANA on Philippine Air

San Miguel Corp., the Philippines’ largest company and owner of a 49 percent stake in Philippine Airlines Inc., held talks with ANA Holdings Inc. (9202) about investing in the flag carrier.

The discussions were preliminary, San Miguel said in a stock exchange filing. Ryosei Nomura, an ANA spokesman, declined to comment on the Manila-based company’s statement.

San Miguel, which paid $500 million for the stake in April 2012, has said it can work with a “good strategic partner.” Co-owner of the airline, billionaire Lucio Tan, 78, is “seriously looking” at a proposal to sell control of the airlines, PAL Holdings Inc. (PAL), the parent of the carrier, said last month.

“A new investor that could put in additional capital in Philippines Airlines would provide San Miguel some elbow room for its other businesses,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director at Manila-based First Grade Holdings Inc.

U.S. and European bans have prevented Philippine Airlines from expanding routes in those regions.

San Miguel is in talks with ANA and Emirates Airline on a strategic partnership in the airline, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported yesterday. Emirates hasn’t approached San Miguel, according to the statement from San Miguel, which came in response to the Inquirer report.

Emirates is not in talks with Philippine Airlines for a strategic investment, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

San Miguel shares fell 4.2 percent to 88.95 pesos as of 2:28 p.m. in Manila, headed for the biggest drop in three weeks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecilia Yap in Manila at cyap19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net

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