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IAG share price flies lower amid hefty fine prospects

International Consolidated Airlines Group’s (LON:IAG) share price has fallen into the red in London this Monday as it emerged that the company is facing a hefty fine over last year’s theft of British Airways customers data. The breach affected bookings made between August 21 and September 5 last year.

As of 09:06 BST, IAG’s share price had given up 0.92 percent to 452.30p. The shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and standing 0.17 percent higher at 7,565.74 points.

IAG faces hefty fine

IAG announced in a statement this morning that it had been notified by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that it intends to issue the airline with a penalty notice under the UK Data Protection Act, over the theft of customer data from British Airways’ website. The regulator has indicated that it proposes to impose a fine of £183.4 million, which, the FTSE 100 company noted, represents 1.5 percent of British Airways’ worldwide turnover for the financial year ended December 31, 2017.

“We are surprised and disappointed in this initial finding from the ICO,” BA’s chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz said in the statement, adding that the airline had “responded quickly to a criminal act to steal customers’ data”. IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh meanwhile commented in the statement that the company intended “to take all appropriate steps to defend the airline’s position vigorously, including making any necessary appeals”.

Analyst ratings update

Liberum reaffirmed the British Airways parent as a ‘buy,’ without specifying a target on the IAG share price. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average valuation of 654.62p.

In other IAG news, the company said last week that it had no plans to revive a bid for transatlantic low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle.

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