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Canadian Tycoon Li to Buy 31 Percent Stake in Air Canada - 2003-11-10

Canadian tycoon Victor Li has agreed to buy a 31 percent stake in Air Canada for $486 million. Air Canada says the investment will help the carrier emerge from bankruptcy. Mr. Li, son of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, will finance the investment from family assets. The elder Mr. Li owns telecommunications, finance, property and media companies.

Analysts say the purchase fits the Li family strategy of seeking out troubled businesses and holding them long enough to turn a profit when other investors take an interest. The airline industry is showing signs of turning around after a two-year slump caused by terror attacks, the war in Iraq and the deadly SARS disease.

Air Canada is the country's largest airline with 31,000 workers and more than 300 planes.