Qatar Airways buys 9.6 percent stake in Cathay Pacific

Qatar Airways will buy a near 10% stake of Cathay Pacific for HK$5.6bn ($662m; £506m), giving the Middle Eastern airline more access to China's lucrative aviation market.

The investment adds to Qatar Airways' overseas portfolio.

Kingboard Chemical said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange on Monday it sold its shares in Cathay Pacific for HK$5,162,266,000 (A$865.3 million), or HK$13.65 per share.

In May, Cathay announced plans to cut around 600 jobs to "improve the speed and quality of decision-making and putting a greater focus on its customers" as a response to increased competition from Asia's low-priced carrier market.

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

Precisely how the dynamic between the two airlines in terms of future cooperation will look is yet to be seen. 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. Earlier in the year, American Airlines rebuffed Qatar.

The troubled Hong Kong carrier in August reported a massive net loss of $262 million (HK$2.05 billion) for the first half of 2017 as it struggled with intense competition from rivals.

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.

The state-owned Gulf carrier said it had acquired a 9.6 percent stake in Cathay, which would make it the third-largest shareholder in the Hong Kong airline.

  • Eleanor Harrison