Qatar Airways has entered into an agreement to purchase a 9.61 per cent stake in Cathay Pacific Airways Limited from Hong Kong’s Kingboard Chemical Holdings for HKD5.16 billion (USD661 million) making Qatar the third largest shareholder in Asia’s largest international carrier.
Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific Ltd., is the largest shareholder of Cathay with 45 per cent, followed by state-owned Air China Ltd. with about 30 per cent.
Commenting on the share acquisition, Cathay Pacific chief executive officer, Rupert Hogg said: “Qatar Airways is one of the world’s premier airlines. We already work together closely as fellow members of the oneworld alliance and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship.”
The deal marks the first investment in an Asian carrier by a Middle Eastern airline and may ultimately help the Doha-based carrier gain better access to mainland China. This investment furthers Qatar Airways investment strategy which already includes 20 per cent investment in International Airlines Group (IAG), 10 per cent investment in LATAM Airlines Group and 49 per cent investment in Meridiana. The deal comes a few months after Qatar Airways ditched a plan to invest in American Airlines Group, which rebuffed Qatar’s entreaties.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is very pleased to complete its financial investment in Cathay Pacific. 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.”
Cathay is in the midst of its largest corporate revamp in more than two decades as earnings have slumped. The carrier earlier announced job cuts and was in talks with pilots over compensation as it reported its worst half-year loss in at least two decades in the six months through June.