Cathay Pacific will donate China National Aviation Corp shares worth about HK$180 million to charities and NGOs in a move to complete its Dragonair acquisition. The giveaway of the shares in Dragonair's former parent company, worth about HK$2.75 each at yesterday's closing price, will be Hong Kong's biggest corporate donation. A formal announcement will be made next week. More than 50 bodies including environmental groups, associations for the elderly, youth organisations and charities for the disabled will benefit. The recipients are mostly local, but also include mainland charities. The news came a day after Dragonair axed 191 staff as a result of the takeover. The 174 local and 17 overseas employees made redundant were paid a total of HK$30 million in compensation. According to the Hong Kong Takeover Code, Cathay Pacific is required to dispose of its CNAC shares to conclude the Dragonair acquisition. Under the takeover plan, Air China will make a privatisation offer for CNAC once the acquisition is completed on Thursday. If Cathay Pacific accepts the privatisation offer as a CNAC shareholder, certain aspects of the acquisition would be treated as special deals, which the takeover code prohibits. A Cathay spokesman said the donation demonstrated the company's commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen. 'We think it is a very good way to help to support a lot of worthy causes.' The donation is unconditional and recipients will be permitted to sell the shares. Tik Chi-yuen - of the Hong Kong Society for the Aged, which will receive shares worth about HK$4 million - said the donation was important given the welfare cuts of the past few years. 'We will use the money to do some new projects for the elderly. Of course, we hope more companies will follow suit,' he said. Lister Cheung Lai-ping of the Conservancy Association, which will get HK$1 million in shares, described it as a windfall. 'This donation is invaluable because it is totally unconditional. There are corporate donations around in the community, but most of them come with many conditions and some of these rules are just totally unacceptable to us,' she said. 'We will use the funds to support air pollution and heritage preservation projects. It is hard to find sponsors for such social campaigns.' Big donations from tycoons have become common since Li Ka-shing gave HK$1 billion to the University of Hong Kong last year. But there have been only a few large donations from corporations.