British Airways owner IAG weighs asset sales to raise cash

posted on 24th February 2022 by Eddie Saunders
British Airways owner IAG weighs asset sales to raise cash

Manuel Baigorri and Dinesh NairBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) — IAG SA is considering several ways to raise cash while global travel remains subdued, including possible asset disposals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The British Airways owner is working with advisers on a strategic review of its portfolio that could lead to stake sales, partnerships and joint ventures, the people said.

Potential assets that could theoretically be used to raise funds include planes, IAG’s frequent-flier program and its cargo unit.

Any sales could help bolster the company’s balance sheet and would likely draw other industry players and investment funds, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Deliberations are at an early stage, no final decision has been made and IAG could still decide against any disposals or partnerships, the people said. A representative for IAG declined to comment.

The group’s other airlines include Iberia, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling. Its mileage program IAG Loyalty counts more than 35 million members globally. IAG also manages IAG Cargo, which operates a global air freight network, and IAG Global Business Services, an IT, procurement and financial support platform.

With a fleet of about 533 aircraft, the company operated to 279 destinations and carried about 118 million passengers a year before the pandemic started, according to its website.

Global airlines have been hit hard by about two years of travel curbs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While IAG’s flagship carrier BA has seen a recent sales boost from the lifting of some restrictions, long-haul travel remains subdued with high infection rates of the omicron variant globally.

IAG shares have climbed 2.5% in London this year, valuing the company at about 7.2 billion pounds ($9.7 billion). The company is scheduled to report full year earnings on Friday.

Other airlines are exploring ways to maximize the value of their portfolios of assets, including United Airlines Holdings Inc., which is considering a potential sale of a minority stake in its frequent-flier program MileagePlus, Bloomberg News has reported.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.