TROUBLED Spanish bank Bankia is to sell a 12 per cent stake in IAG; parent company to British Airways and Iberia.
The bank’s financial problems led to the government nationalising Bankia earlier in May and having to inject €19bn (US$23.6bn) into the company; twice what it had estimated.
The bailout will mean Bankia having to sell its non-core assets.
The bank’s chairman, Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, says he will “logically look to start a sale process” as soon as possible.
Bankia is the largest shareholder in IAG, acquiring its share after Iberia’s major stakeholder – the bank Caja Madrid – met financial difficulties.
Who will buy the 12 per cent stake is a mystery. The only European carriers that could afford it, such as Air France-KLM or Lufthansa, would run into competition problems.
The sale is very unlikely to affect the company’s operations, but if it takes a while IAG could have problems if it wants to make any acquisitions or large purchases.