Vietnam Airlines Corp. will sell an 8.8 percent stake to ANA Holdings Inc., owner of Japan’s biggest airline, the Vietnamese carrier’s chief executive officer said.
The operator of All Nippon Airways will pay $109 million for its stake, with the deal set to close sometime between March and June, Pham Ngoc Minh said in a telephone interview Tuesday. The two airlines will discuss more stake sales later, he said.
ANA has been scouting for acquisitions in Southeast Asia since 2013 after raising $1.8 billion in a share sale. A plan to buy a stake in Myanmar’s Asian Wings Airways Ltd. was canceled in 2014.
"We chose ANA since they’re a big, prestigious airline with a large market that does not compete with ours," Minh said. "ANA’s experience and strengths will help Vietnam Airlines expand.”
ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura confirmed the company had been negotiating with Vietnam Air but declined to provide more details. The Nikkei reported the deal earlier Tuesday.
ANA shares hit their lowest point since June on Tuesday and were down 1.5 percent at 324.3 yen as of 10:12 a.m. in Tokyo.
Last year, Vietnam Airlines said it was aiming to select a strategic partner willing to purchase a 20 percent stake by the time shares sold in an initial public offering in 2014 start trading next year when a lock-up period expires. The carrier, set to transform its fleet with deliveries of the newest Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co. wide-body models, would prefer to link up with another carrier, Minh said in an interview in June.
Vietnam Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, which also includes Air France and Korean Air Lines Co. ANA is a member of the Star alliance, which includes Singapore Airlines Ltd. and United.