Qatar Airways buys nearly 10% stake in rival airline

Reuters

Qatar Airways said on November 6 it had agreed to buy 9.6 percent of Hong Kong rival Cathay Pacific Airways.

"Cathay will have three major shareholders, all with different and potentially conflicting interests - Swire, Air China and Qatar Airways", said Ms Corrine Png, CEO of transport research firm Crucial Perspective.

The Middle Eastern carrier said it bought nearly 3.8 million Cathay shares, which represents a 9.6 per cent stake in Hong Kong's biggest airline.

The Doha-headquartered airline has acquired the 378,188,000 shares in Cathay Pacific from Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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In a statement, the Hong Kong based airline said Air China and Swire Pacific would continue to hold almost 75% of its shares.

"Cathay Pacific is a fellow oneworld member and is one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry and with massive potential for the future", Al Baker said in a statement.

Qatar Airways' investment strategy since 2015 has focused on increasing stakes in airlines based outside the Middle East.

Without domestic flights to underpin earnings, Asian carriers Cathay and Singapore Airlines have struggled against Chinese and Middle Eastern rivals, with Cathay already shedding 600 jobs since May. On Monday, Air China said that it looked at the purchase by Qatar Airways in Cathay as positive and it hoped shareholders would work to find synergies. The company also owns 20 per cent of International Airlines Group, which controls European carriers Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling; 10 per cent of Chile's Latam Airlines Group; and 49 per cent of Meridiana, Italy's second-biggest carrier. The route was axed "for commercial reasons".

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