British Airways has announced its intention to sell its 18.25 per cent shareholding in Qantas by way of an
underwritten offering managed by an international bank.
The gross sale proceeds are expected to be not less than A$1,090 million (approximately £425 million).
British Airways acquired its original shareholding in Qantas in 1993 for A$665 million (£304 million). Since the
original investment British Airways has received A$600 million in dividends.
British Airways’ chief executive Rod Eddington said: “Our shareholders have had a good return from our investment
in Qantas. We now believe it is in our best interests to sell our shares to pay down our debt and continue to
strengthen our balance sheet.
“A strong balance sheet will place British Airways in a robust position for any future European consolidation.
“The share sale has no impact on the existing business relationship between the two airlines and is not linked to our
joint services agreement (JSA) which continues. The JSA is a strong, well established relationship which brings real
commercial benefits to both British Airways and Qantas.”
The JSA between British Airways and Qantas has recently been given draft approval for a five-year extension by the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The JSA includes joint flight schedules, sales and operations between Australia, South East Asia, the UK and
further announcement about the share sale is expected to be made in the next 48 hours on conclusion of the process.