BA ends trading ahead of merger


BA has ended trading on the stock market ahead of merging with Iberia

British Airways has ended 24 years of trading on the stock market ahead of its merger with Spanish carrier Iberia.

The merger will complete on Friday and shares in the new holding company, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), will be listed on the stock market in London and Madrid on Monday morning.

Shares closed 5p lower at 282.5p on Thursday, its last day, after easyJet warned soaring fuel costs were expected to double half-year losses and shook confidence in the industry.

The completion of the merger comes more than two decades after British Airways joined the London stock market in a high-profile flotation that was 11 times oversubscribed.

BA and Iberia will retain their brands as part of the initiative that is expected to save 400 million euro (£337.3 million) a year by its fifth year.

The new airline group will have 419 aircraft flying to 205 destinations and will be Europe’s second biggest airline by market value after Lufthansa.

BA will also benefit through Iberia’s strong presence in south America, where BA operates only a handful of routes.

The newly-formed group plans to aggressively expand through further acquisitions and has already drawn up a list of 12 companies it is interested in buying.

Willie Walsh will step down as chief executive of BA to take up the same role at IAG in a move that will see his basic pay increase 12% from £735,000 to £825,000 a year.

Current BA chairman Sir Martin Broughton will remain in the post after the tie-up, but will also become deputy chairman of IAG and will earn 350,000 euro (£295,000) and an extra 175,000 euro (£148,000) next year to help with the demands of integrating the two firms.

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