With a deal on Brexit hanging in the balance, so is the future of Iberia. In the run-up to March 29, the carrier is doing all it can to prove that it is Spanish so it can continue to operate within the European Union. It now claims that it’s over half-controlled by El Corte Inglés, a department store group.
With a deal on Brexit hanging in the balance, so is the future of Iberia, reports El Pais. In preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, the airline is doing all it can to prove that it is Spanish. As the situation with respect to Brexit stands, operators that are less than 50.1 percent controlled by an entity of the European Union (EU) will no longer have the right to fly within the bloc after March 29.
Iberia is controlled by International Airlines Group (IAG), a multinational company headquartered in London.
However, the paper reports that, in at attempt to retain flying rights, Iberia is now claiming that it is over half-controlled by El Corte Inglés, Spain’s biggest department store group.
Explaining the situation, Head for Points states, “Iberia is owned by BA’s parent, International Airlines Group. Whilst IAG is based in Madrid, it does NOT have 50.1% EU ownership if you look at the shareholder register.”
“Whilst 100% of the ‘economic rights’ to Iberia’s revenue and profitability are owned by IAG, it turns out that 50.01% of Iberia’s ‘political rights’ are owned by the El Corte Inglés department store chain,” it adds.
The mechanics of actual ownership, as El Pais explains, are intricate. IAG is staking its claim “on the complex corporate structure that was set up in 2011 to facilitate the merger between Iberia and British Airways.”
“Iberia has two kinds of owners: At the time of the merger, in order to “guarantee the company’s Spanishness,” Iberia became 100% owned by a company called Ib Opco, where voting rights and economic rights were decoupled. All the economic rights went to IAG, while the voting rights were split between IAG (49.9%) and Garanair (50.01%). Today, Garanair is wholly owned by El Corte Inglés,” states the outlet.
Garanair is a company that was created in 2010 by Jorge Pont Sánchez, who is an executive of El Corte Inglés and Iberia.
The final arbiter, explains the paper, will be the European Commission, who will have the power to clarify Iberia’s true corporate identity.