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IAG boss Walsh mulls next step in Norwegian bid after two rebuttals

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of airline group IAG, has no immediate plans to hold further talks with Norwegian Air about a possible acquisition, he said, after the rival carrier rebuffed two takeover approaches.
Mr Walsh said he and IAG's board would now be “reviewing all our options” following talks with bosses at Norwegian.
The comments, however, prompted Norwegian to release a statement revealing that two “separate conditional proposals” had been made by IAG, although Mr Walsh said these were not formal offers.
“If anything happens, we will disclose it as we are required to do,” he said. “We are reviewing our position and we are not expecting to have to make an announcement in the coming weeks.”
Mr Walsh refused to expand on whether he would make another bid but suggested the approach for Norwegian was a targeted move, rather than being indicative of an aggressive hunt for an acquisition.
IAG boss Walsh mulls next step in Norwegian bid after two rebuttals

Norwegian said it had rebuffed two "separate conditional proposals" from IAG

Credit:
 Bloomberg
Industry commentators have suggested Norwegian has been a thorn in the side for IAG’s trans-Atlantic business, despite IAG posting strong numbers in the first three months of 2018.
The sales figures were boosted by the Easter holidays, which fell early in the year, and by more efficient aircraft, which resulted in lower costs.
Group revenues increased by 2.1pc to €5bn in the period, while pre-tax profits rose to €885m from €74m, thanks to a one-off €639m gain linked to the closure of one of IAG's defined benefit pension schemes. Excluding this exceptional gain, profits still soared, jumping from €93m to €246m.
IAG's cost per available seat kilomtere - a key industry metric - dropped 4.3pc to €6.67. The upbeat result sent shares in the company up by more than 5pc at one point to 677p.
IAG proper
Mr Walsh said the group had 70pc of its fuel requirements hedged for 2018 and suggested those with little or no hedging would struggle because of rising oil prices. He said Norwegian was roughly 25pc hedged.
“I think anyone not hedged is facing a very significant challenge in relation to the fuel price this year,” he said.
Mr Walsh added summer could prove particularly challenging for airlines without hedging in place because tickets sold in advance would not reflect the higher costs of oil’s recent rise.
“The gap between your revenue and costs widens and I think this will put a number of airlines under stress,” he added.
IAG boss Walsh mulls next step in Norwegian bid after two rebuttals

Problems with Rolls Royce's Trent 1000 engines have forced airlines using them to ground some planes

Credit:
PA
Mr Walsh also admonished engine maker Rolls-Royce, stating he was “very disappointed” with the company for the issues related to its Trent 1000 engines.
The airline boss said the issue would mean five or six of his Boeing 787 fleet would be grounded, but he expected Rolls-Royce to have “sorted all the issues out by the end of July”. He said he was “absolutely asking for compensation”.
Rolls was the subject of a warning by the European Aviation Safety Agency last year regarding some components in its Trent 1000 engines wearing out more quickly than expected.
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