Qantas to upgrade ADRs to Level 1

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Qantas Airways will upgrade its American Depository Receipt (ADR) programme to allow more US investors to trade in its shares.

The Australian carrier has filed documentation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a Level 1 ADR programme, which is expected to be effective from 21 February. The ADRs will trade under the ticker symbol US OTC QABSY.

The Level 1 programme will allow the ADRs to be traded over the counter, and thus will be open to all investors. Its previous Rule 144A ADRs were limited to institutional investors, with those packages now included in the new programme.

Qantas says that it is retaining Bank of New York Mellon as its US depository institution.

The move to upgrade the ADRs comes as the airline prepares to announce an underlying loss before tax of up to A$300 million ($270 million) for the first half of the 2014 financial year. The airline has also been campaigning to repeal the Qantas Sale Act, which limits its foreign ownership to 49%.

Qantas will announce its first-half results and future plans for cost cutting initiatives on 27 February.