Qatar Airways said it expects to reach agreement in the coming weeks to acquire a 33 percent stake in the largest European all-cargo carrier Cargolux.
Cargolux confirmed in mid-April it was in negotiations with several parties interested in buying into the Luxembourg-based airline.
"We are going to sign an agreement with them [Cargolux] … in a few weeks," said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker. "We see there are synergies and Qatar Airways would like to expand," Al-Baker told journalists in Dubai.
Al-Baker did not disclose financial details of the deal, but analysts estimate the stake to be worth around $220 million.
Qatar Airways, which is half-owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, has been expanding its cargo and freighter network, most recently placing an order for three 777 freighters.
Cargolux, which operates 14 747-400 freighters, ended three straight years in the red with its swing to a $59.8 million profit in 2010 from a $153.3 million loss in 2009.
The carrier, which boosted 2010 revenue 29.3 percent to $1.75 billion and carried 683,380 tons of cargo, expects to take delivery this year of the first of 13 747-8 freighters it has ordered.
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