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Qatar Airways to buy nearly 10% of Cathay

Updated with comments from Cathay Pacific

Qatar Airways has entered an agreement to purchase close to 10% of Cathay Pacific.

The Middle Eastern carrier will purchase 378.2 million shares from Kingboard Chemical, Kingboard Investments and Kingboard Laminates for HK$5.16 billion ($661 million). This amounts to 9.61% of Cathay's shares.

The deal is expected to close on Monday 6 November.

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. It expects a HK$800 million gain from the sale and plans to use the proceeds for its working capital and for other investment opportunities.

Separately, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says: "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 with massive potential for the future."

Qatar adds that the investment "further supports" the airline's investment strategy. This already includes a 20% stake in International Airlines Group, 10% in LATAM Airlines Group and 49% in Meridiana.

In a statement, Cathay says Air China and Swire Pacific continue to hold a 74.9% stake in the airline.

Chief executive Rupert Hogg adds: "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."

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