Qatar Airways Acquires 9.61 Pct Of Cathay Pacific

Two for the price of one fares for a limited time

"This investment further supports Qatar Airways investment strategy which already includes 20 percent investment in International Airlines Group, 10 percent investment in LATAM Airlines Group and 49 percent investment in Meridiana".

Earlier this year it made a bid to buy 10 percent in American Airlines, the United States' largest carrier, but the deal went sour and Qatari officials eventually said that "it no longer met" Qatar Airways' goal.

Cathay shares fell 3.9 percent by mid-morning in Hong Kong, to HK$12.68.

Bloomberg News said the deal was worth $662 million (570 million euros or HK$5 billion).

Separately, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: "Qatar Airways is very pleased to complete its financial investment in Cathay Pacific".

The airline has been unable to fly to the previously lucrative markets of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as part of an airspace rights dispute with neighbours, and has been looking to invest elsewhere to broaden its reach. According to Reuters, Qatar Airways bought roughly 378 million of Cathay Pacific's shares from Hong Kong's Kingboard Chemical Holdings for about US$661 million.

Corrine Png of Singapore-based research firm Crucial Perspective described the acquisition as a "trophy win" for Qatar Airways but not without potential obstacles.

The deal means Qatar Airways will be Cathay Pacific's third largest shareholder next to Swire Pacific Limited (45%) and Air China Limited (29.99%).

Qatar Airways will buy the stock for HK$13.65 per share, the statement said.

Cathay shares traded up at HK$13.00 in the afternoon after falling by nearly 5% to HK$12.56 at one point during the morning session.

Pressed by competition from low-priced carriers and from growing Chinese airlines, Cathay Pacific lost $262 million during the first six months of this year.

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