Qatar Airways buys stake in top EU freight firm
Doha, June 10, 2011
Qatar Airways said it has bought a 35 per cent stake in Luxembourg-based Cargolux, as leading air freight firm in Europe operating a modern fleet of 16 B747-400 freighters.
Announcing the deal, Cargolux International Airlines said the two struck 'a strategic equity partnership (including) the acquisition of a startegic stake in Cargolux and a commercial co-operation.'
As per the deal, Qatar Airways would acquire all Cargolux holdings that the Luxembourg state and other groups bought during the economic crisis, said a Cargolux spokeswoman.
'(Qatar Airways) has very ambitious growth plans overall, but they also want to become a major player in air cargo so we clearly view them as being a strategic long-term partner,' said the Cargolux spokeswoman.
The Luxembourg government and other groups had taken over Swissair Group's 33.7 per cent stake in privately held Cargolux as a temporary measure at the end of 2009 after the Swiss airline went into liquidation.
Since then Cargolux has been looking for a long-term investor to take on the stake.
Marc Hoffmann, chairman of Cargolux board said: 'At the implementation of the restructuring plan in Nov 2009, I noted that Cargolux would benefit strongly from a strategic partner and that shareholders had commenced discussions with several parties.'
'I am delighted that we have now found such an excellent strategic partner in Qatar Airways. I have no doubt that the co-operation with the new shareholder will support the business performance of Cargolux and strengthen its market position going forward,' he added.
Commenting on the deal, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani said Qatar strongly supports viable business development opportunities.
'Our investment in Europe’s leading cargo carrier Cargolux boosts our ambition to become one of the major players in air freight by 2015,' he remarked.
A report in FT Deutschland published on Wednesday put the value of the stake at 150-200 million euros ($220-$293.4 million). The company declined to comment on the price of the transaction.
In his comments, Qatar Airways chief executive office Akbar Al Baker said ‘Everybody wins from this partnership. We seek to fuel our growth plans by including air freight as a major part of our product offering.'
'Our investment in Cargolux, a sound and healthy company and a leading all-cargo carrier, will deliver great value to Qatar Airways,’ he added.-Reuters and TradeArabia News Service