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Qantas to gain full control of Alliance Aviation to tap mining sector demand

(Reuters) -Australian carrier Qantas Airways Ltd (QUBSF) said on Thursday it would buy the remaining 80% stake in Alliance Aviation Services (ALAVF) for A$610.8 million ($443.14 million) in an all-stock deal to expand its footprint in the charter business.

Qantas, which bought a 19.9% stake Alliance in early 2019 https://investor.qantas.com/DownloadFile.axd?file=/Report/ComNews/20190201/02071925.pdf, said investors of the aviation services provider would receive A$4.75 per share, which represents a more than 35% premium to its last close and values the whole of Alliance at A$764.5 million.

The deal allows Qantas to incorporate Alliance's charter fleet and "efficiently" serve customers in the Australian mining industry as the country opens up to foreigners, expecting an influx of workers and increased activity in the sector.

"The resources sector continues to grow and any new tender for airline services will be very competitive. It makes a lot of sense for us to combine with Alliance to improve the services we can offer," Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said.

The Sydney-based airline has notified the country's competition watchdog of the deal along with details of the anticipated benefits to customers. The deal would require, among others, the watchdog's clearance to go through.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), which investigated Qantas' 19.9% stake buy in Alliance in 2019 and made no antitrust objections, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

($1 = 1.3784 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Aditya Soni)

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