ANA - All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda) is set to acquire an 8.8% stake in Vietnam Airlines (VN, Hanoi) following the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two carriers.

Under the terms of their tentative Business and Capital Partnership agreement which is valued at approximately VND2.43 trillion (USD108 million), ANA will secure a seat on Vietnam Airlines' board and will also assist it with operational and managerial knowhow to help improve overall service quality.

“We appreciate the cooperation with ANA Group to participate in the administration and long-term development of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation," Pham Viet Thanh, Chairman of Vietnam Airlines, said. "ANA is one of the leading airlines in the region and in the world. The cooperation with ANA Group will help Vietnam Airlines acquire new management technologies, expand the market, improve service quality, increase competitiveness in international markets. I strongly believe this comprehensive cooperation will enhance the value, brand and image of Vietnam Airlines.”

Both carriers expect to complete the necessary Vietnamese government formalities by the end of the current quarter following which a formal share-purchase agreement will be signed. As it stands, the MOU will now be forwarded to the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport and the Prime Minister's Office for consideration.

If implemented, the partnership will enhance both carriers' access to the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam bloc which has one of the highest growth potentials in the region. ANA has attempted to enter the market before through the planned acquisition of a 49% stake in Myanmar's Asian Wings Airways (YJ, Yangon). The deal, however, collapsed in mid-2014.

For its part, Vietnam Airlines has been in the hunt for strategic investors willing to acquire a 20% stake in the airline following its IPO in November 2014. Late last year, airline president Pham Ngoc Minh said he hoped the sale would raise at least VND6.3 trillion (USD280 million) needed to fund the carrier's fleet renewal plans.