IAG, the holding company of which Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling are part, moves tab. Given the imminence of a Brexit without an agreement, its board of directors has decided to set at 47.5% the maximum allowed total of non-EU shareholders in application of the provisions of article 11.8 of its bylaws, as it has informed the CNMV . The European Union states that for any airline to maintain its flight rights, at least 50% of its capital must be in the hands of Union shareholders. The air group points out that, due to the level of ownership of the social capital by investors who do not belong to the EU, it is necessary to establish a maximum allowed maximum. According to article 11.8 of its statutes, and after the publication of this announcement, IAG affirms that no acquisition of group shares by non-EU investors (Non-EU) can take place. Currently, Qatar Airways is the largest shareholder of IAG with 21.4% since joining the group in 2015 ahead of Capital Research (10%), Europacific Growth (5.261%), Lansdowne (3.95%) and Invesco (1.1%).
Although the measure is motivated by the possibility of a hard Brexit, the fact is that IAG warns in its statement that British people "are not and will not be treated as non-EU people and, consequently, are not and will not be subject to the restrictions on the acquisition of shares mentioned, unless the company notifies the shareholders otherwise. " In this regard, he adds that "he has no plans to issue such notification", which would leave exposed his flight rights in case of an exit from the United Kingdom of the EU without agreement.
Since the possibility of a hard Brexit has won whole, several European airlines, including Iberia, are looking for options to not lose their flight rights. The Secretary of State for Infrastructures, Pedro Saura, assured last week that the Ministry of Development had given its approval to the plan that the airline had presented to them to continue operating in the EU. Days before, in the Congress, the head of the department, José Luis Ábalos, assured that some airlines were working on "changes in their shareholding" in order not to lose their flight rights after the Brexit.