In this March 8, 2011, photo, a Cathay Pacific Airways plane takes off at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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Qatar Airways, spurned by American Airlines and isolated in the Gulf, snapped up 9.6 percent of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways in a surprise move that extends a policy of investing in major global carriers and provides a first foothold in East Asia. Qatar Airways will purchase the stake for HK$5.16 billion ($662 million) from Kingboard Chemical Holdings and associates, according to a statement, becoming Cathay's third largest investor after local conglomerate Swire Pacific with a 45 percent holding and Air China with almost 30 percent.The Cathay swoop is in line with a strategy of blue chip deals that have seen Qatar Airways buy 20 percent of British Airways owner IAG and 10 percent of No. 1 South American carrier Latam Airlines Group. Under the terms of the Cathay deal, Qatar will buy about 378.2 million shares at HK$13.65 apiece, a 3.4 percent premium over Friday's close.
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