SEPI will approve next week the loan with which Iberia will take 20% of Air Europa

William GinesFOLLOW, CONTINUEMadrid Updated: 05/06/2022 1:25 p.m.
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The SEPI and the ICO finalize the authorization (waiver) with which they will approve the loan of 100 million granted by Iberia to Air Europa, convertible into 20% of the capital of the Globalia airline. A measure that, according to sources familiar with the negotiations, will take place next week.

The CEO of IAG,
Louis Gallego
, explained to the media after presenting IAG's results the steps that remain in the operation. Once the approval of the SEPI and the ICO has been obtained, Iberia gives itself a maximum period of six months to obtain the approval of foreign competition authorities and convert the credit into 20% of Air Europa.

And already within its shareholding, another negotiation will begin with the Hidalgo family to take over 100% of the company.

"The intention is to have complete control of Air Europa, but it will be a complex process that we have already said can take 18 months," Gallego stressed, who has also reaffirmed that Iberia and Air Europa will be rivals until the first does not take a dominant position in the second. Regarding the position of SEPI in the Globalia airline, from Iberia they have recalled that only 240 of the 475 million granted correspond to a loan convertible into shares, and normally this step occurs if there is a default on the loan.

Beyond the purchase of Air Europa, Gallego has referred to the problems that British Airways is having in London. According to the manager, these difficulties were caused by "a very rapid increase in capacity" that has accentuated the company's lack of personnel. «The market is difficult due to factors such as Brexit. We need more than three months to get someone into the company and this has been compounded by problems such as Ómicron, which shot absenteeism up to 7% in the first quarter, ”explained Gallego.

British Airways lost 430 million in the first quarter, according to the accounts deposited this Friday by IAG in the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). Iberia, for its part, left 89 million and Vueling 99. Overall, IAG lost 787 million euros, 26.7% less, although the holding company expects to be profitable again in the second quarter of the year.

Limited impact by war

The company, which includes Iberia, British Airways (BA), Vueling and Aer Lingus, entered 3,435 million euros, compared to 968 registered in the same period a year earlier. IAG's operating losses stood at €731 million in the first quarter of this year, 32.1% lower than in the first quarter of 2021. Excluding exceptional items, they were €754 million.

Passenger carrying capacity in the first quarter was 65% of 2019, up from 58% in the fourth quarter of 2021, as the Group's airlines continued to build capacity ahead of the scheduled flight schedule. summer. The forecast is to reach 80% of the 2019 capacity in the second quarter and 85% in the third.

"The numbers improve compared to last year and are close to those of 2019. We are advancing progressively, and we must bear in mind that the first quarter is usually the worst of all in terms of business," said the president of Vueling, Marco Sansavini. , in the same meeting with the media.

Regarding
hedges that the group has to overcome the increase in the price of oil
, Gallego has assured that the group is "covered" for the next two years and the impact of the war on the company will be limited. "There are competitors, such as the Americans, who do not have coverage," said the CEO of IAG. Despite this, the group acknowledges that the unit cost has increased by 20% due to the increase in oil.

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