//IAG buys into Norwegian

IAG buys into Norwegian

The low-cost long-haul carrier insists it’s not for sale

International Airlines Group (IAG) has acquired a 4.61 per cent ownership position in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian), stating it considers the airline to be an attractive investment.

The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for the company, but Norwegian said it had no prior knowledge of the acquisition before it was reported on April 12 and the airline was not in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA chief executive officer and co-founder Bjørn Kjos, who has a 27 per cent stake in the company, stated that the discount carrier was not for sale.

IAG had confirmed that no such discussions had taken place to date and that there was no certainty that any such decision will be made.

An acquisition could value the company at about $3 billion, including debt.

Norwegian currently carries 5.8 million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester Airports to 50 destinations worldwide and is the third largest airline at London Gatwick, with 4.6 million yearly passengers, and with more than 1,000 UK-based pilots and cabin crew.

In 2014, it introduced the UK’s first low-cost, long-haul flights to the US and now flies to 11 destinations in the country, as well as Buenos Aires and Singapore.