Etihad agrees in principle to take 49 percent stake in Italy's struggling Alitalia

Fast-growing Gulf carrier Etihad Airways says it and Alitalia have reached a deal in principle for the United Arab Emirates-based airline to buy a 49 percent stake in the struggling Italian airline.

Etihad said in a statement on Wednesday that the airlines have agreed on "the principal terms and conditions" and will now work to finalize the details as soon as possible. It says the deal remains subject to regulatory approvals.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Etihad CEO James Hogan said earlier this month that the carrier was looking forward to completing the deal.

The Gulf airline has snapped up stakes in several airlines in recent years, including Virgin Australia and Germany's second largest airline Air Berlin.