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LONDON/MADRID: April 12, 2018. The IAG Group, owners of British Airways and Iberia, has confirmed it has taken a 4.6 percent stake in Norwegian Air Shuttle with a view to beginning discussions about a possible acquisition.

The airline group, which also includes Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL, said in a statement that it “considers Norwegian to be an attractive investment [for] a full offer although no discussions have taken place and there is no certainty that any such decision will be made”.

Norwegian Air ShuttleResponding on twitter today Norwegian said: “Just been made aware that the International Airline Group (IAG) has acquired 4.6 percent of the shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Norwegian had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning [on] Thursday. Norwegian has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.”

The company added it had no further comment to make at this stage.

On Monday March 12 Norwegian’s stock was trading at US$22.51. The share price is now US$33.93 having risen from US$22.63 on April 10.

The airline reported a net loss of NOK 298 million for 2017 on revenue of NOK 30.94 billion. Q4 cargo revenue more than doubled from NOK 76 million to NOK 180 million year-on-year.

Commenting on the overall results Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “We are not at all satisfied with the 2017 results. However, the year was also characterized by global expansion driven by new routes, high load factors and continued fleet renewal.”

IAG’s Aer Lingus reported a 2.8 percent increase in revenue tonne-kilometers for the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year as British Airways reported a 2.0 percent drop and Iberia traffic rose 4.7 percent in the period. Currently IAG doesn’t report cargo flown on LEVEL or Vueling.

Last month Aer Lingus launched its 14th transatlantic route with service between Dublin and Philadelphia that will be followed by a new Seattle link next month. March also saw low-cost subsidiary LEVEL begin a new route from Barcelona to Boston, and in July the airline will start operations from Paris-Orly to Montreal, New York (Newark), Guadeloupe and Martinique.

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