Qatar Airways Acquires Stake in Cathay Pacific

Posted November 07, 2017

Qatar Airways is buying almost 10 per cent of Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific Airways for about $662 million, the companies said Monday, in a deal making it Cathay's third-biggest shareholder.

Qatar and Cathay's two other major shareholders, Swire Pacific and Air China which own 45 and 30 percent respectively have "different corporate cultures" with "potentially conflicting interests and strategic focus", said Png.

It's a move that appears to signal the Qatar carrier's confidence in the Hong Kong airline's ability to rebound from its recent financial struggles, largely the result of increasing competition from the Middle Eastern airlines as well as mainland Chinese and low-priced carriers.

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. Earlier in the year, American Airlines rebuffed Qatar. "Cathay Pacific is a fellow Oneworld member and is one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry with massive potential for the future".

Shares of Cathay have increased by over 29% since the beginning of 2017 despite the air carrier posting in August its worst loss for the first six months of a year in the last 20 years.

The counter fell as much as 4.7 per cent yesterday morning, as investors anxious about its direction with Qatar Airways on its registry.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg described Qatar as "one of the world's premier airlines". "This may not necessarily be favourable for Cathay as it is facing operating challenges and undergoing transformation".

Kingboard Chemical Holdings based in Hong Kong, announced it sold the stake in Cathay Pacific to Qatar Airways at the price of HK$5.15 billion or $661 million, making the carrier, based in the Middle East, Cathay's third largest shareholder.

Doha-based Qatar Airways has taken a 6.9% stake in Cathay Pacific.