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After Delta deal, Qatar Airways may raise LATAM stake

Langkawi, Malaysia 

QATAR Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said his airline would consider lifting its 10 per cent stake in LATAM Airlines Group SA if the opportunity came up - comments which come after Delta Air Lines Inc agreed last month to buy 20 per cent of the Chilean carrier. But he also noted that LATAM's free float was limited.

Currently around 48 per cent, according to Refinitiv data, it could fall to as low as 28 per cent depending on the take up of Delta's tender offer for shares.

Qatar Airways has historically had a contentious relationship with major US carriers, which have accused Gulf airlines of receiving unfair government subsidies, distorting competition and costing Americans jobs. The Gulf carriers have rejected the accusations.

Delta's US$1.9 billion deal with LATAM ended the Chilean airline's long-time ties with American Airlines. It came after the Chilean Supreme Court denied a proposed venture between LATAM and American on competition grounds.

Mr Al-Baker said Qatar Airways, which has an independent member on the LATAM board, did not have prior notice of the Delta deal. REUTERS

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