IAG International Airlines Group will not retain its 4.61% share in Norwegian Group unless it can acquire full control of the group, CEO Willie Walsh has said during a quarterly investor's call.
"We will not be a long-term shareholder in Norwegian, unless we acquire it. We are very clear on that. The small stake that we took was with a view to initiating discussions with Norwegian," he said.
The owner of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling Airlines, LEVEL, Anisec Luftfahrt, and Aer Lingus, IAG acquired the minority Norwegian stake in April this year. The transaction was completed without Norwegian's prior knowledge or approval.
Since then, Norwegian has rejected two takeover offers made by IAG. The LCC said that each of them was underpriced. Walsh has since said that as of April, there have been no further negotiations between the parties.
According to a report by Expansion, IAG offered nearly EUR4 billion euro (USD4.6 billion) for Norwegian back in April, including EUR1.5 billion in cash to acquire shares and EUR2.32 billion to refinance Norwegian's debt.
Ryanair has previously said it would be interested in acquiring some Norwegian's assets should they be sold off as a part of any antitrust settlement. However, the Irish LCC has underlined it has not been involved in any talks about an equity investment at this stage.
In mid-June, Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian Group CEO, said the holding opened talks with Lufthansa Group about a potential acquisition.
Norwegian recently posted a NOK254 million krone (USD31 million) net profit for the first half of 2018, a stark reversal from a NOK2.18 billion (USD266 million) net loss for the same period in 2017.
IAG to either take over Norwegian or sell its 4.61% stock
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