2 FEBRUARY 2015
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Qatar Airways has bought a near 10% stake in IAG worth around £1.15bn, building closer ties with the owner of its partners British Airways and Iberia in the oneworld alliance of which it is a member. Qatar National Holdings has a 20% stake in Heathrow Airport Ltd.
Qatar Airways said that it would look to strengthen commercial ties with the European carrier and may consider increasing its stake over time, although it was not currently intending to exceed 9.99%.
"IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our Westwards strategy," Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive of Qatar Airways, said on Friday, referring to its aim of expanding in western markets.
Non-European shareholders of IAG including Qatar Airways are subject to an overall cap on ownership as a result of the requirement for EU airlines to be majority owned by EU shareholders.
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, said in a statement: "We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG's ambitions."
Qatar Airways recently became the first operator of the new Airbus A350, which both British Airways and Iberia have on order. www.iairgroup.com www.qatarairways.com
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