International Consolidated Airlines Group’s (LON:IAG) planned acquisition of Niki could face a hurdle, with a passenger rights group looking to recover more than €1 million which it says the insolvent Austrian carrier owns to passengers, Reuters has reported. The news comes after the British Airways parent announced the deal yesterday, saying that Niki was a ‘great fit’ with its Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling.
IAG’s share price has been steady in London this morning, having added 0.36 percent to 671.20p as of 09:10 GMT. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing at 7,647.48 points, flat in percentage terms.
Niki deal hurdle
Reuters reported that Fairplane, seeking to recover more than €1 million it says Niki owes to passengers, had filed separate legal cases yesterday to block insolvency proceedings in Berlin and to open them in Austria instead. The passenger rights group argues that Niki, which is registered in as a company in Austria, had been profitable but had lost access to bridge financing when insolvency proceedings were opened in Germany in December, grounding planes and stranding passengers.
While the amount is relatively small, a spokesman for Air Berlin liquidator Lucas Floether told the newswire that the complaint could derail the sale of Niki to IAG.
“If the complaint before the Charlottenburg Court (in Berlin) succeeds, the sale of Niki to IAG would be greatly endangered,” the spokesman told Reuters. The FTSE 100 group is buying the insolvent Austrian carrier for up to €36.5 million.
Analysts on IAG
Sanford Bernstein, which sees IAG as a ‘buy,’ set a price target of 710p on the stock yesterday, while Credit Suisse reaffirmed the British Airways and Iberia owner as an ‘outperform,’ valuing the shares at 721p. According to MarketBeat, the FTSE 100 group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 551.64p.