Qatar Airways has purchased a $600 million stake in British Airways owner IAG to extend its holding to 25.1%, advancing its strategy of developing a global portfolio of airline investments.
In approval of the Anglo-Spanish group weeks before its founder Willie Walsh steps down, Qatar stated increasing its stake was evidence of its assist for the company and its strategy.
Qatar previously held 21.4% of IAG, which further owns Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling and Eire’s Aer Lingus. IAG’s share price has soared by 52% in the last six months.
Shares in IAG had been trading up 1.4% at 641 pence in early offers on Wednesday, giving the group a market worth of 12.75 billion pounds ($16.6 billion).
State-controlled Qatar Airways, one of the Middle East’s biggest carriers, has stated its investments in different carriers had been principally for financial purposes.
It purchased a few of its holdings after the UAE and Saudi Arabia banned it from their airspace after a regional political conflict, which Qatar Airways has criticized for its recent losses.
It has minority holdings in international carriers Cathay Pacific and China Southern and stated earlier this month, and it was keen on doubling its holding in LATAM Airlines Group to 20%. It was in discussions to purchase a 49% stake in Africa’s RwandAir.
The airline owns 49% of Air Italy, whose investors this month stated was being put into liquidation due to “persistent and structural market problems”.
IAG was developed by a merger between the British and Spanish flag carriers in 2011, managed by Walsh, who will step down in March.
Luis Gallego, who led Iberia since 2014, will succeed in Walsh, an appointment that analysts stated indicated little change of direction for the group.
The price of increasing its IAG stakes is 465 million pounds, based on the closing price of IAG’s shares Tuesday.