International Airlines Group (IAG) acquires 20 per cent equity stake in Air Europa

Image of an Air Europa jet. Credit: [email protected]

The IAG group has converted a €100 million unsecured loan to Air Europa’s parent company Globalia into a 20 per cent equity stake in the airline.

As reported on Tuesday, August 16, in a statement to the National Commission of the Market of Securities (CNMV), International Airlines Group (IAG) has acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in Spanish airline, Air Europa.

On March 17, 2022, IAG announced that a €100 million unsecured loan had been made to the airline’s parent company, Globalia. It was believed at the time that this loan was IAG’s way of stopping a third-party airline from purchasing Air Europa.

The group’s holding company has now exercised its right to convert that loan into a stake in the airline. IAG already owns British Airways, Vueling, and Iberia.

Purchase and sale procedures had been agreed between Iberia and Air Europa at the end of 2019, for a figure of €1,000 million in cash. This deal was subsequently affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and because of the serious effect it had on aviation companies, the sale price was eventually lowered to €500 million.

IAG had already announced the option of converting its loan into shares as an alternative on May 17, and as a result, now owns a share of the airline based in Lucmajor, Mallorca. According to sources from the Hispanic-British group, this move represents one more step towards: “A possible broader agreement”.

This conversion of the loan for a period of seven years has been communicated to the CNMV. In this way, IAG maintains the exclusivity and right of first refusal in the purchase process of the total capital of the airline for the next three years, as reported by cronicaglobal.elespanol.com.

Negotiations between Air Europa and IAG had stalled, and, in fact, both IAG and the Spanish company were reportedly guilty of prolonging the negotiations. Luis Gallego, CEO of the International Airlines Group previously stressed that if the operation did not conclude then: “we always have a plan B, which can be alliances with other airlines”.

His statement at the time made reference to being the dominant force in the different Spanish airports. This is something that IAG has achieved with Vueling in Barcelona’s El Prat facility. The purchase of Air Europa – currently one of its competitors in that market – would certainly strengthen the group’s presence in Madrid with Iberia. It would also increase its position in the South Atlantic.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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