Fri, Nov 13, 2009
Would Create One Of The World's Largest Airlines
British Airways and Iberia of Spain said Thursday that they
have agreed to a $7 billion merger that will create one of the
world's largest airlines. Company officials say they hope to
compete with Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.
The New York Times reports that BA would retain 55% of the
combined company, and that Willie Walsh, chief executive of British
Airways, would stay on in that position with the combined group.
Antonio Vázquez, Iberia’s chief executive, would
Gert Zonneveld, an analyst at Panmure Gordon in London, said the
merger makes sense. “Both airlines have their issues and
there are some decent cost savings and synergies to achieve."
The deal will require both government and shareholder
approval, but Iberia said in a statement that they expect those
hurdles to be cleared by early next year. The two airlines said the
merger would create a company with about $22 billion in revenue and
result in annual cost savings of about nearly $600 million.
“The merger will create a strong European airline well able
to compete in the 21st century,” Mr. Walsh said in the
statement. “Both airlines will retain their brands and
heritage while achieving significant synergies as a combined
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