Wednesday, 12 August, 2020


Qatar Airways agrees to buy 9.61 percent stake in Cathay Pacific

Conrad Doyle | 06 November, 2017, 06:45

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

"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. It already has stakes in a number of airlines, including 20 per cent of British Airways owner International Airlines Group, 10 per cent of South America's largest carrier LATAM and 49 per cent of Italian airline Meridiana.

Qatar Airways has been seeking investments in other carriers but recently dropped a bid to buy into American Airlines, which snubbed its overtures.

The purchase, the first by the Middle Eastern airline in an Asian carrier, may help the Doha-based company gain a toehold in the region and get access to mainland China that is set to emerge as the world's biggest aviation market within a decade.

As for Qatar Airways' move for Cathay Pacific, Bloomberg News valued the deal - a purchase of a stake held by "Hong Kong-based Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd. and its associates" - at $662 million.

Cathay shares fell 3.9 percent by mid-morning in Hong Kong, to HK$12.68. "If both airlines can work together, it will definitely be good for Cathay".

The International Air Transport Association predicts passengers will almost double to 7.8 billion by 2036, and Asia Pacific will contribute more than half of the new additions.

Cathay Pacific is also part of the Oneworld alliance.

Earlier in 2017, Qatar had planned to buy into American Airlines, but the idea was dropped after the USA carrier expressed little enthusiasm for the deal.

But American CEO Doug Parker cited that ongoing dispute in voicing his displeasure about Qatar Airways' since-dropped effort to buy a stake in American. The bulk of Cathay Pacific stock is held by two major shareholders - Swire Pacific Ltd owns about 45 per cent, while Chinese flag carrier Air China owns about 30 per cent.

In a Hong Kong stock exchange disclosure, Kingboard Chemicals says the group is primarily engaged in the manufacture and sale of products including chemicals, laminates, printed circuit boards, and that the Cathay shares are an investment.

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