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Nov 6, 3:43 AM EST

Qatar Airways pays $662M for 10 percent of Cathay Pacific

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Qatar Airways pays $662M for 10 percent of Cathay Pacific

HONG KONG (AP) -- Qatar Airways is buying nearly 10 percent 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.

The Middle Eastern carrier said it bought almost 3.8 million Cathay shares, which represents a 9.6 percent stake in Hong Kong's biggest airline.

Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific owns 45 percent of Cathay, state-owned Air China has 30 percent and the rest is publicly traded.

Qatar Airways bought the shares from Hong Kong's Kingboard Holdings, according to a stock exchange filing by the company, which makes circuit boards and invests in property.

Kingboard expects to reap an 800 million Hong Kong dollar ($102 million) profit from selling its Cathay stake, the company said in the filing.

Cathay, which last year reported its first annual loss in nearly a decade, is carrying out a three-year corporate overhaul that includes laying off hundreds of workers as it battles to keep up with intensifying competition from rival Asian carriers.

The investment adds to Qatar Airways' overseas portfolio. The company also owns 20 percent of International Airlines Group, which controls European carriers Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling; 10 percent of Chile's Latam Airlines Group; and 49 percent of Meridiana, Italy's second-biggest carrier.

Cathay shares fell 1.5 percent on Monday, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index finish nearly unchanged.

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