Qatar Airways will get back the $117.5 million it paid for a 35 percent stake in Cargolux it acquired from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg a year ago as part of a plan to become a top air cargo operator by 2015.
The Luxembourg government is buying back the shareholding and then plans to sell it to a new investor.
Qatar Airways decided to pull out of Europe’s largest all-cargo airline in November following differences with its management over the future strategy for the carrier, which was the launch customer for Boeing’s 747-8 freighter.
The Luxembourg government, which currently owns 65 percent via stakes held by Luxair, the national airline, and two state banks, expects to close on the deal by the end of the year.
Russia’s Volga-Dnepr, owner of AirBridgeCargo, and HNA, the Chinese transport and logistics group, are said to be front runners to acquire the 35 percent stake being relinquished by Qatar Airways.
Cargolux, which lost $18 million in 2011, its third deficit in four years, is currently seeking to cut costs and boost productivity to compete with fast-growing cargo airlines in Asia and the Middle East.