Qatar Airways on Tuesday increased its stake in International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways, to 15.01 percent. The Doha-based airline is considering to become an even larger shareholder in the European company.
“Qatar Airways has decided to further deepen its relationship with IAG and the increased stake recognises the strengthening commercial and strategic ties between the companies”, the airline said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
The airline last year became the largest shareholder in London-based IAG.
According to FactSet, Qatar Airways initially acquired 9.9 percent of IAG for some $1.7 billion (about £1.2 billion) and later increased its stake to 10.01 percent.
The statement also noted there was a cap on non-EU shareholders of IAG (international investors cannot own more than 49 percent of a European airline).
“Qatar Airways may consider increasing its stake further over time within the allowable limits”, the state-owned carrier added.
“We have been very happy with our investment in IAG, from a financial, commercial and strategic perspective”, said Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways.
“The relationship formed has helped to deliver on our westbound strategy”, he added.
According to the statement, Qatar Airways believes IAG is very well positioned in Europe on the back notably of its attractive exposure to the Transatlantic segment, its leading positions at the London and Madrid hubs and the future benefits from the acquisition of Aer Lingus. “Qatar Airways fully supports this ongoing strategy.”