ANA Holdings, operator of Japan’s largest carrier All Nippon Airways, is looking at buying a stake in Vietnam Airlines.
Shinichiro Ito, ANA chairman, said it was currently in the midst of discussions with ‘several carriers’ with Vietnam Airlines be among them. This according to a report in the Financial Times.
ANA has made it clear that it is seeking a strategic partnership with an airline in Southeast Asia. Last year ANA nixed a deal that would have saw it investing $25 million in Myanmar’s Asian Wings Airways.
The ANA Group, which owns Japanese budget carriers Peach and Vanilla Air, recently headed up a rescue plan to save bankrupt Skymark air by purchasing a 16.5% stake.
Analyst Ryota Himeno expects to see more consolidation among Asian carriers within the next few years.
“With low-cost carriers increasing their market share, legacy carriers will come under pressure and consolidation is likely to happen. ANA is carefully monitoring those opportunities.” Himeno said.
Direct investment in Vietnam by Japanese firms reached $37.9 billion during the first eight months of 2015, according to the Vietnam Foreign Investment Agency. Along with South Korea, Japan remains one of two largest investors in Vietnam, along with South Korea.