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Qantas shares in trading halt

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Qantas shares have been placed in a trading halt ahead of an announcement from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s on its credit rating.

The airline on Thursday announced it would cut 1000 jobs and flagged an underlying half year loss of up to $300 million.

Qantas requested the trading halt on Friday, pending the receipt of information from Standard and Poor’s in relation to its credit rating.

The Australian Securities Exchange said Qantas shares would remain in a trading halt until Tuesday morning, unless the S&P information is released earlier.

Another ratings agency, Moody’s, said it was considering downgrading Qantas’ current baa3 credit rating to junk status.

Qantas shares last traded at $1.07 per share.

The airline has announced it is looking to find $2 billion in savings over the next three years.

It is also considering possibly selling off part of its profitable frequent flyer division or Jetstar as it tries to unlock capital and find a path back to profitability.

The airline has blamed difficult market conditions and intense competition from rival Virgin Australia for its predicament.

It has called on the federal government to block Virgin’s planned $350 million equity raising, which will see its three major shareholders – Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines — increase their ownership stake.

There has also been calls for the Abbott government to provide financial assistance to Qantas by taking an ownership stake in the airline.

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