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Air China now cargo venture's sole owner

AIR China has agreed to expand its stake in a cargo venture to 100 percent on anticipation of growing cargo business in China.

The Beijing-based carrier will pay 718 million yuan (US$105 million) to Capital Airports Holding Company, the parent of Beijing Capital International Airport Co, for a further 24-percent stake in International Cargo Transport Ltd of China, it said in a statement to Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

The carrier plans to inject more resources into the venture as part of its strategic measures to boost investments in the air cargo industry, the statement said.

The cargo venture was set up in 2003 by Air China, CITIC Pacific Ltd and Capital Airports Holding Company with a registered capital of 2.2 billion yuan. Air China held 51 percent at the time.

Last year, Air China bought a 25-percent stake for 857 million yuan from CITIC Pacific to bring its stake to 76 percent.

By the end of last year, the venture's total assets reached 5.14 billion yuan and debts totaled 3.19 billion yuan.

It booked an unaudited profit of 41 million yuan and revenue of 7 billion yuan last year, the statement said without giving a comparative figure.

China is aiming to increase cargo and mail volume by 8 percent to 4.37 million tons this year, compared with 0.2 percent growth last year.

The civil aviation regulator has issued policies to stimulate the domestic aviation industry which has been affected by declining demand and fluctuating oil prices.

In February, cargo volume in the domestic market rebounded for the first time since last July by rising 7.4 percent to 195,195 tons.


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