Deutsche cuts BA rating after doubts over American tie-up

AILING airline British Airways (BA)was dealt a further blow yesterday, after Deutsche Bank cut its rating for the airline from &ldquo;sell&rdquo; to &ldquo;hold&rdquo; ahead of its second-quarter results. <br /><br />&ldquo;We believe that the main positive catalysts for the stock &ndash; the merger with Iberia and anti-trust immunity with American &ndash; are at risk,&rdquo; said Deutsche&rsquo;s Geoff Van Klaveran .<br /><br />The news came as the airline said it was ready to fight concerns over antitrust immunity on its proposed tie-up with American Airlines (AA) and Spanish carrier Iberia, after EU regulators raised concerns over the talks. <br /><br />BA said the proposed three-way tie up would not dominate transatlantic markets, despite the European Commission stating it would do &ldquo;competitive harm&rdquo; on seven routes between Europe and the US.<br /><br />The EChas told the three airlines, who have been in talks over a transatlantic tie-up for over a year, that they may have to give up take-off and landing slots if they want to go ahead with the merger.<br /><br />But BA dismissed the comments. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t believe that this is necessary given the number of airlines flying between the EU and US,&rdquo; it said.