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UK government plans to buy into airlines: FT

(Reuters) - The British government is planning to buy equity stakes in airlines and other companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

The government plans to invest billions of pounds in companies including IAG-owned British Airways ICAG.L in return for shares that would eventually be sold back to private investors, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move comes after the government was warned that its economic support packages, including a 330 billion-pound ($385 billion) lifeline of loan guarantees, will not be enough to save companies from collapse, the paper reported.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps spoke to major airports and airlines on Wednesday about how the government could support the industry. Discussions about a support package for airlines and airports are ongoing.

The United Kingdom has reported 3,983 coronavirus infections and 177 deaths.

Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Jane Wardell