London / Dubai: Qatar Airways will further raise its stake in British Airways owner IAG SA, adding to its holding after the shares plunged in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to people familiar with the matter.
The state-owned carrier, already IAG’s largest investor, will boost its holding to about 20 per cent from 15.7 per cent, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. The increased stake could be announced in the coming days, the people said. Qatar Airways and IAG representatives declined to comment.
Qatar Airways, which said earlier this month that it was considering increasing its stake in IAG, has demonstrated its global ambitions with a recent flurry of deals. On July 12, the Gulf carrier announced plans to buy as much as 10 per cent of LatAm Airlines Group SA, South America’s biggest carrier. Two days later, Qatar Airways agreed to acquire 49 per cent of Italy’s second-largest carrier Meridiana Fly SpA. Still, the strategy is hemmed in by laws that restrict foreign ownership of airlines.
IAG, which is due to announce first-half financial results on Friday, is facing turbulence from currency swings and uncertainty stemming from the U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union. The London-based owner of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus cut its 2016 earnings outlook in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote because of the likely impact of exchange-rate changes on profit translation. IAG’s shares have fallen 22 per cent following the ballot.