April 16, 2021

Brussels dismisses as "absurd" the IAG plan to avoid the Brexit

Brussels dismisses as "absurd" the IAG plan to avoid the Brexit


MadridUpdated:

The IAG plans to avoid the Brexit still do not convince the European Commission. According to the "Financial Times", Brussels considers "totally absurd" the plan of the holding to shield the community majority of its shareholding just before the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The group airlines – which integrates Iberia, British Airways, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level- on Monday sent a statement to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) notifying that limited the presence of non-community shareholders in its capital stock to 47.5%. This restriction, reflected in the group's bylaws, allows IAG to comply with European regulations, which establish that airlines must be owned by at least 50.01% by community investors to maintain their flight license.

But the plan IAG It has an important nuance: the British shareholders. Although these investors will be considered non-EU if a hard Brexit is produced, the holding company has decided not to impose any limitations on them. "It is noted that British people are not and will not be treated as Non-EU Persons," the group explained in its letter. A differentiation that has been rejected by the European Comission.

A senior official of the European Commission described the plan as "absurd" to the Financial Times. In addition, it assured that the company had not communicated its intention to limit the non-community capital in its shareholding.

The IAG assures that this decision "has nothing to do with the Brexit" and was simply taken to ensure that its airlines maintained their flight licenses. "We are convinced that we will comply with the applicable regulations on ownership and control, both in the United Kingdom and in the European Union, after Brexit," they add from the group, which has insisted in recent months on its "Spanishness".

The Government has supported this message, ensuring that IAG will adapt to the regulation, which will ensure the flight rights of Iberia and Vueling. Brussels, on the other hand, is more cautious. Therefore, it has offered a seven-month extension to those air groups that need to restructure their shareholding if a hard Brexit occurs.

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