December 28, 2016 / 3:48 PM / 4 years ago

Chile's LATAM Airlines says Qatar Airways has completed stake purchase

The logo of Qatar Airways is pictured at the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s LATAM Airlines LAN.SN, Latin America’s largest, said on Wednesday that Qatar Airways has completed its acquisition of 10 percent of the company, in a transaction worth $608.4 million.

LATAM announced in mid-July an agreement in which Qatar would buy 10 percent of the company via the issuance of new shares, with a payment of $10 per share. In the final deal, Qatar purchased 60.8 million LATAM shares, the company said.

“The entrance of Qatar into the ownership (of LATAM) is an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship and explore new opportunities for connectivity with Asia and the Middle East,” LATAM said in a statement.

The Qatar deal forced the Chilean Cueto family and the Brazilian Amaro family to modify the ownership structure of LATAM in September so as not to dilute their participation.

The company, founded in 2012 through a tie-up between Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM, has reported significant losses in recent years amid a recession in Brazil. That has caused a number of operational adjustments, including fleet reductions.

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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