IAG chief rules out ‘bid­ding war’ for Nor­we­gian Air

Irish Examiner - - Business - Pádraig Hoare

The boss of Aer Lin­gus owner IAG has said the com­pany will not be­come em­broiled in a bid­ding war for Nor­we­gian Air, fol­low­ing two re­ported re­jected bids.

Wil­lie Walsh told IAG share­hold­ers at its an­nual meet­ing that buy­ing the low-cost, long-haul car­rier was not a must-do deal.

Nor­we­gian, which be­came the first air­line to of­fer transat­lantic flights from Cork in July last year, has been the sub­ject of in­tense specu- la­tion that it may be sold to IAG, which also owns Bri­tish Air­ways, Ibe­ria and Vuel­ing.

Nor­we­gian axed its win­ter route from Cork and Shan­non to Prov­i­dence in Rhode Is­land in April due to low de­mand, but is still fly­ing the routes un­til the end of Oc­to­ber.

Founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Bjorn Kjos said at Nor­we­gian’s an­nual share­hold­ers’ meet­ing last month that “at the right price, any­thing is for sale”.

IAG bought a 4.6% stake in Nor­we­gian in April, lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion it was look­ing to buy it.

How­ever, Mr Walsh told the group’s meet­ing in Madrid: “We re­main open­minded about Nor­we­gian. This is not a deal that we have to do and we will cer­tainly not get in­volved in a bid­ding war.”

Nor­we­gian said two pre­vi­ous bids were re­jected be­cause they did not value the com­pany highly enough.

Shares in Nor­we­gian rose al­most 2% in Oslo yes­ter­day.

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