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Qatar Airways Increases Stake in IAG to Over 25 Percent
Qatar Airways has increased its stake in International Airlines Group (IAG) from 21.4 percent to 25.1 percent with a $600m buy-up. The move comes a little over a week after Air Italy which Qatar Airways had a 49 percent stake in ceased operations.
In announcing the increased shareholding Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Our investment to date has been highly successful and the announced increase in our shareholding is evidence of our continued support of IAG and its strategy.”
Qatar Airways first undertook a shareholding of IAG with a 10 percent stake and has gradually increased its interest in the consortium, which is registered in Spain and has its head office in the U.K. IAG had a cap of 47.5 percent on non-EU shareholdings but this was removed in January after non-EU ownership dropped to 39.5 percent. Reuters reported that Qatar Airways’ interests in foreign airline ownership are “mostly for financial purposes. It does not have an IAG board seat.” IAG has been performing exceptionally well in recent years and in the last six months, IAG’s share price has increased by 50 percent.
In addition to its investment in IAG, Qatar Airways has a 10 percent stake in LATAM which it is said to be interested in doubling and also interested in India’s IndiGo. The carrier is also reportedly in talks to buy a 49 percent share of RwandAir. Interest in the latter follows Qatar’s recent agreement to buy a 60 percent stake in Rwanda’s new airport in Kigali. Qatar Airways also has a stake in Cathay Pacific and China Southern Airlines.
Since Qatar’s ban from the airspace of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE in 2017, the state-owned Qatar Airways Group has been increasingly active in investing in foreign carriers and promoting the nation ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
In Qatar’s press release announcing the increased IAG investment, Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways continues to consider opportunities to invest in airlines and support management teams that share our vision to enhance travel opportunities for airline passengers across the globe.”
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