Philippines conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC) is in talks with Philippine Airlines to assist in the carrier's fleet upgrading and modernisation plan.
"We confirm that the company was invited by Mr Lucio Tan, the controlling stockholder of PAL Holdings, Inc, to participate and assist in the re-fleeting and modernization of the aircraft of Philippines Airlines in preparation for the projected heavy influx of tourists in the coming years which will be beneficial to the tourism industry of the country," said SMC in a stock exchange statement.
It added: "In the event a definitive agreement is concluded, an appropriate disclosure shall be made to the exchange."
PAL Holdings, however, later issued a statement to say that "it is not privy to the discussions, if any, between SMC and Mr Lucio Tan", and thus cannot confirm the statements made by SMC.
SMC's statement was in response to local media reports of a $1 billion buy-in into PAL Holdings, causing the firm's share price to soar, and that SMC officials had signed a memorandum of understanding to undertake a due diligence process on PAL.
Earlier this year the flag carrier outsourced its catering, ground handling and call centre reservation units - moves that spraked employee protests.
PAL said outsourcing would cut costs and help it regain profitability in the face of competition from low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific in the domestic and regional markets and from other airlines on international services.
"We're doing it to save the airline from financial ruin," its president Jamie Bautista had said earlier.
PAL posted a net loss of $10.6 million for its fiscal first quarter this year compared with a net profit of $31.6 million during the same period a year earlier. It posted a net profit of $72.5 million for its fiscal year ended 31 March 2011, up from a loss of $14.4 million during the same period a year earlier.
San Miguel is mainly a food and beverage company, but has diversified into the oil refining, telecommunications and power industries.