Qatar Airways takes stake in British Airways and Iberia owner IAG becoming largest shareholder

Lynsey Barber
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Qatar has taken a stake in the owner of British Airways and Iberia (Source: Getty)

Qatar Airways has bought a 9.9 per cent stake in British Airways and Iberia owner International Airlines Group (IAG) becoming its largest shareholder.

The state-owned carrier said it would consider increasing this stake as it expands further into European markets, however this is limited by EU rules on ownership by non-EU companies.

The flag carrier of Qatar and IAG already have codeshare agreements through the Oneworld alliance group of airlines, however both companies said the deal would strengthen these ties further.

IAG chief Willie Walsh said: "We're delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world's premier airlines, as a long-term supportive shareholder. We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG's ambitions as the leading global airline group".

The deal comes amid a bid for budget airline Aer Lingus by IAG.

Qatar Airways chief executive His Excellency Akbar Al Baker said: "IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy. Having joined the Oneworld alliance it makes sense for us to work more closely together in the near term and we look forward to forging a long-term relationship."

IAG shareholders*

Standard Life investment- six per cent

Europacific Growth Fund- 5.3 per cent

Capital Reserch and Management- 5.05 per cent

Templeton Global Advisors- 4.9 per cent

Legal and General- 3.2 per cent

Landsdowne Partners International- 2.2 per cent

Invesco- one per cent

Lansdowne Developed Markets Master Fund- one per cent

*As of 19 January

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