British Airways owner IAG says adios to Bankia

Michael Bow
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BRITISH Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) lost its top shareholder yesterday after Spanish banking giant Bankia sold a 12.09 per cent stake in the company.

The sale, which netted Bankia €167m (£142.7m), brings to an end Spanish interests in the airline giant, which through its subsidiary Iberia has been Spain’s flag carrier for almost 70 years.

The sell off raised £574.2m in total after about 224m IAG shares were placed yesterday morning at 256p in an accelerated bookbuilding led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch – a discount to IAG’s closing price of 263p on Wednesday night. Bankia Bolsa also placed shares as co-bookrunner

Bankia, Spain’s fourth biggest bank, is being forced to shed non-strategic assets, including its portfolio of industrial holdings, as part of bailout conditions imposed by the Spanish government after a €24bn rescue last year.

IAG was formed out of a 2011 merger between Spanish airline Iberia and UK flag carrier British Airways and is led by chief executive Willie Walsh.

Bankia became lead shareholder in the merged company through its holding in Iberia, which it acquired by buying Caja Madrid which had been Iberia’s biggest shareholder since the airline’s privatisation in 2001.

A Cantor Fitzgerald analyst said that removing the Bankia share overhang was a small positive for IAG.

Shares in the company, which is listed in London and Spain, closed down 0.19 per cent in London.


Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) was appointed sole bookrunner on the secondary accelerated placement for International Consolidated Airlines Group. Co-bookrunner on the placing was Bankia’s in-house broker Bankia Bolsa.

Heading up the team for BoAML was head of Iberia equity capital markets Ignacio Maldonado and managing director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa financial institutions group Meritxell Maestre.

Yesterday’s placing builds on a healthy line of work by BoAML’s Iberian equity capital markets team so far this year.

It was taken on for Santander’s €1bn selldown in BZW Bank and was also hired by Spain’s state-owned holding company Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (Sepi) to underwrite €380m of EADS stock sold in May.

It also helped Dutch-based Amorim Energia’s issue of €350m senior, secured bonds exchangeable into shares of Portuguese outfit Galp Energia, as well as a €200m issue of five year convertible bonds by Spanish hotel chain Melia Hotels.