A private investment firm owned by the family of Li Ka-shing will take a stake in Hong Kong's third passenger airline, CR Airways, by the end of the month, according to a source close to the deal yesterday. Trimore Investment, owned by Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, the eldest son of Li Ka-shing, is bidding to take a 45 per cent stake in the struggling airline, which lacks the capital to begin its mainland ambitions, according to a CR Airways executive. 'We are working on the due diligence for the company,' the executive said. 'Although our management valued the company at $400 million, I think there will be a discount.' A senior executive from Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings said to be involved in the deal refused to comment yesterday. A company spokeswoman did not return calls. CR Airways had been in talks with Trimore for more than six months, the executive said. It had also been negotiating with Hainan Airlines to sell an 85 per cent stake for $200 million, but those talks fell through recently, he said. CR Airways flies six weekly scheduled services to Laoag, in the Philippines, with a 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft it wet-leased last year from Shandong Airlines. It also operates charter services to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. The Air Transport Licensing Authority last year also granted the fledgling carrier traffic rights to Meizhou, Wenzhou, Jinan and Nanning in the mainland, although services have not yet been launched. It has also applied for the rights to fly to Guilin, Haikou, Changsha, Tianjin, Sanya and Wuhan, but it faces opposition from Hong Kong Dragon Airlines and Helicopters Hong Kong. An aviation analyst from a western investment bank said the Li family might be looking for a long-term business opportunity by acquiring part of CR Airways. 'The entity that cracks the low-cost China market will make a lot of money over time,' he said.