Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday it will buy budget airline HK Express for 628.15 million USD. File photo/ AFP
HONG KONG: Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday that it will buy budget airline HK Express for US$628.15 million, as it moves to counter competition from the increasing number of low-cost carriers in the region.
The HK$4.93 billion acquisition leaves Cathay Pacific in control of three of the four airlines in Hong Kong, adding to its namesake carrier and regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon.
Cathay will pay HK$2.25 billion in cash for HK Express, and issued HK$2.68 billion promissory loan notes, the company said in a filing.
The deal is expected to complete by December 2019, according to the filing. The carrier said it will continue to operate HK Express as a “standalone airline using the low-cost carrier business model.”
“The Transaction is expected to generate synergies as the businesses and business models of Cathay Pacific and HKE are largely complementary,” Cathay said in the filing.
The carrier also said the purchase is an “attractive and practical way” to support long-term development and enhance competitiveness.
Cathay shares rose 2.78 per cent to HK$14.06 in Hong Kong trading shortly after the market opened.
Hong Kong Express is the city's sole budget carrier — a sector of the industry that a marquee brand like Cathay has struggled to compete against.
Hong Kong Express is owned by HNA Group, a struggling Chinese conglomerate that has been looking to lower its debt pile. The group also owns Hong Kong Airlines, another Cathay competitor that has found itself in financial difficulties in recent months.
Cathay has been overhauling its business after posting its first losses for eight years in 2016, firing more than 600 workers and paring overseas offices and crew stations as it faces stiff competition from budget rivals in China.
It has also added international routes and better on-board services in a bid to compete with well-heeled Middle Eastern long-distance carriers.
The overhaul appears to have paid off. Earlier this month Cathay Pacific announced a net profit of HK$2.35 billion ($299 million) last year, ending two successive annual losses.
The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions on Friday called on Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) to put an end to what it described as “white terror,” following the dismissal of Rebecca Sy, the head of
Midori Nishida, 25, was escorted to a public toilet at Hong Kong airport and told to urinate on a strip in November before being granted permission to board her Hong Kong Express flight to the US territory of Saipan.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority has cancelled all flights not yet checked in by Monday afternoon, the agency said, as anti-government protesters peacefully demonstrated
Lufthansa reported an operating loss of 336 million euros ($380 million) for the first quarter of the year, hurt by rising fuel costs and overcapacity in Europe, sending its shares down 5 per cent in pre-market trade. Germany’s biggest airline said late on Monday
Sheikh Nahyan made this statement while receiving, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life at the European Commission, who is currently visiting the country on the EU Honour Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) hosted an expert discussion on the state of recovery in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region,
The Government of Punjab under the patronage of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar is all set to showcase the best the province has to offer at the biggest,