Avianca shares soar on report United, Delta may buy it

Shares of the Avianca soared 22 percent Friday after a published report listed United and Delta among the possible buyers of the Central American airline.

Avianca, based in Panama City, Panama, has 180 planes that fly to 105 destinations in 28 countries. Avianca sent letters to potential bidders, according to the The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, seeking capital of $500 million.

Avianca, United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The airline industry has consolidated rapidly in a bid to cut costs and control markets. United is still struggling to make its tie-up with Continental run smoothly.

Shares of Avianca Holdings SA rose $1.15 to $6.33 at the open of trading.