The IAG aeronautical group, parent company of British Airways and Iberia, announced on Thursday the acquisition of the entire capital of Air Europa from the Spanish firm Globalia, for 500 million euros (530 million dollars).
IAG had converted a 100 million euro loan to Globalia in August into a 20% stake in Air Europa and had already indicated "the possibility of acquiring 100%" of this airline.
Thursday’s announcement therefore concerns the acquisition of the remaining 80% for a value of 400 million euros, IAG said in a statement.
"The IAG Board of Directors believes that this is an extremely important acquisition for the group and that it positions it to benefit from growth opportunities in the Latin American and Caribbean market, as well as greater connectivity with Asia."says the statement.
The conclusion of the operation now depends on the approval of the European competition authorities, in a process that "may last about 18 months"precise.
IAG had already announced an approach to Air Europa in 2019, but this was frustrated by the covid-19 pandemic.
The operation "will allow IAG’s Madrid hub to compete with other European hubs and consolidate its position in the South Atlantic"highlighted Luis Gallego, general director of IAG, in statements quoted in a statement from the group, which will present its 2022 results on Friday.
If the operation is completed, Iberia will retain the Air Europa brand and will be in charge of managing it, the multinational said.
IAG, which also controls the Irish company Air Lingus, is the third largest airline group in Europe behind Ryanair and Lufthansa.
Air Europa also represents the third company with the largest presence in Spain, after IAG and Ryanair.