ICAGY - International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A.

Other OTC - Other OTC Delayed Price. Currency in USD
-0.75 (-4.68%)
As of 12:49PM EST. Market open.
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Previous Close16.04
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range15.14 - 15.32
52 Week Range9.85 - 20.50
Avg. Volume18,098
Market Cap15.41B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.84
PE Ratio (TTM)4.78
EPS (TTM)3.20
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield0.64 (3.97%)
Ex-Dividend DateNov 26, 2019
1y Target Est18.87
  • Willie Walsh hands over controls at BA-owner IAG
    Reuters Videos

    Willie Walsh hands over controls at BA-owner IAG

    He turned British Airways into IAG. But now Willie Walsh is handing over the controls. He will be replaced by Luis Gallego, currently head of group firm Iberia. Walsh has been head of IAG since 2011. He oversaw the initial merger of British Airways and Iberia. And its subsequent acquisition of other carriers including Aer Lingus and Vueling. Now the company says he will step down in late March, before retiring fully in June. Walsh calls Gallego the right man to take over. But he leaves some issues for his successor to address. A December survey by consumer group Which rated British Airways as the second-worst long-haul airline. The carrier's reputation has also been tarnished by labour unrest and computer failures that left customers stranded. IAG shares were up over 1% in early trade Thursday (January 9).

  • Barrons.com

    China’s Coronavirus May Hit These European Airlines Harder Than Others

    A global pandemic scare was frightening investors away from stocks on Monday and airline stocks were some of the worst hit. For Europe, some of the cheaper airlines may offer the best protection.

  • ‘Fear is The Name of The Game’: Investors Dump Airlines, Miners

    ‘Fear is The Name of The Game’: Investors Dump Airlines, Miners

    (Bloomberg) -- After surging to a fresh record high at the end of last week, European equities on Monday became the latest market to get hammered by fears that measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus were failing, sending investors running from risky assets.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended the session 2.3% lower, dropping the most since Oct. 2, with miners, airlines, luxury-goods makers and tech stocks taking a serious beating. All industry groups were in the red, signaling just how worried traders were. The U.S. also dropped, with the S&P 500 tumbling as much as 1.9% on Monday morning.“Fear is the name of the game,” said Stephane Ekolo, an equity strategist at TFS Derivatives in London. “Market participants are taking some risks off the table as they are afraid of the potential economic implication of the virus outbreak.”Today’s drop is quite a change from Friday, when the market rallied on optimism that China was moving quickly enough to contain the outbreak. The death toll has now risen to at least 80 people, the infection is spreading around the world, and investors are dumping equities at the start of a week jam-packed with earnings.“A spike in volatility will add further excuses to sell and to adjust the weight into the end of the month,” said Alberto Tocchio, chief investment officer at Colombo Wealth SA in Lugano. “We are therefore continuing to buy puts on main European and U.S. indexes in order to protect the portfolios.”The Euro Stoxx 50 Volatility Index jumped 36%, the most since Feb. 2018, signaling that traders were unsettled by the rising number of victims from the outbreak. The gauge had dropped to a record low earlier this month.While Monday’s pull-back in stocks was pronounced, all was not lost yet. Technical charts showed the Stoxx 600 remained in an uptrend channel, and trading above its 50-day moving average.Here are the most affected sectors in today’s sell-off:Luxury-goods makersShares in luxury-goods makers were hurt by worries that Chinese consumers won’t spend as much time shopping during Lunar New Year festivities as they usually do. Kering SA, Swatch Group AG and Burberry Group Plc were among the biggest decliners in the sector.“It’s very apparent that the last thing on anyone’s mind right now is purchasing luxury items,” Keith Temperton, a trader at Tavira Securities, said by email.While it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions on the potential impact on the industry from the virus, disruptive events -- especially those affecting consumer sentiment and people traveling -- have in the past been “historically good times” to buy into the sector, a team of Exane BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a note.Airlines and AirportsThe spread of the virus and China’s order to suspend sales of package tours in an attempt to contain the outbreak are weighing on travel and leisure shares including airlines.Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM shares tumbled as the two airlines are the most exposed to China among European peers, with about 7% of capacity, according to a UBS note; IAG SA also underperformed even as its exposure is more limited. Finnair also sank; the carrier has 10% of its seat capacity exposed to China and a further 38% to other Asian countries, according to Goodbody.“This is of growing concern for global long-haul airlines,” Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. analyst Daniel Roeska said in an email. “While low-cost airlines in Europe don’t have any exposure, the majors’ links to their Chinese partners will make Asia traffic a difficult region in their 1Q,” “However, we have also seen that travel can resume very quickly after events like this and I would expect top-line challenges for AF, LHA, IAG only as long as the tragic situation persists.”Among airport managers, Fraport AG has the highest exposure to Asia, which represents about 10% of the airport’s capacity, according to UBS, followed by Aeroports de Paris and Flughafen Zurich AG.AutosShares of European carmakers and suppliers dropped on fears of further weakening in demand in China, the world’s biggest automotive market. Car sales in the country fell for a second straight year in 2019 and, while the head of its main automotive industry association is predicting some growth in the market this year, Beijing Automotive Group Co. has said competition is “brutal.”Wuhan, the virus outbreak’s epicenter, is the base of Dongfeng Motor Corp., one of the three main shareholders in French carmaker PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel models. In addition to that partnership, Dongfeng is also working on electric vehicles with PSA’s main domestic rival, Renault SA.Parts producers with multiple sites in China include German tire and powering-systems manufacturer Continental AG and French peers Valeo SA and Faurecia SE.TechnologyTech stocks, which touched their highest levels since May 2001 on Friday, also pulled back, weighed by losses for almost every member of the Stoxx Tech Index apart from Ericsson. Prosus NV, Micro Focus International Plc, Dialog Semiconductor Plc and AMS AG were among the biggest decliners.Trade-war concerns for the tech sector have dissipated, Fahad Hassan, a fund manager at Atlantic House Fund Management, said by phone, still “this is just a different sort of macro concern that obviously affects all stocks, but given tech has been the strongest group so far this year, I think it was going to get hit on any pull-back,” Fahad added, referring to the coronavirus.Mining and SteelMining shares slid as much as 4.6%, their biggest drop on since August. Large diversified miners such as Anglo American Plc, BHP Group Plc, Glencore Plc and Rio Tinto Plc paced the retreat, alongside steelmakers ArcelorMittal SA and Evraz Plc, as base metals tumbled on concerns that the spread of the coronavirus will weigh on demand, with China being the world’s largest consumer of commodities.“The sharp fall of virtually anything related to industrial metals this morning is more than a knee-jerk reaction to the latest coronavirus developments. It more reflects in our view the rise in the global level of uncertainty, which will remain high in the next three weeks; at the very least. Keep your distances,” said Stephane Barbier de la Serre of Makor Capital.\--With assistance from Chiara Remondini, Tom Lavell, Kit Rees, Albertina Torsoli, Michael Msika and Hanna Hoikkala.To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in London at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Blaise Robinson at brobinson58@bloomberg.net, Beth MellorFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    Asia, Europe Markets, Airline Stocks Drop Over China Virus Outbreak

    Markets in Europe traded lower on Tuesday, as China confirmed that the novel coronavirus could be transmitted human-to-human , with more cases being reported internationally. What Happened The Asian markets ...

  • BAE Systems rallies after snapping up U.S. defense companies

    BAE Systems rallies after snapping up U.S. defense companies

    Defense contractor BAE Systems was the best-performing U.K. large-cap company on Monday after announcing plans to buy two different companies that need to be divested for the merger between Raytheon and United Technologies to complete.

  • Reuters

    Fines for European privacy breaches reach 114 mln euros - report

    European regulators have imposed 114 million euros ($126 million) in fines for data breaches since tougher privacy rules came into force in mid-2018, with approaches varying widely from country to country. A report by law firm DLA Piper said France has imposed the biggest single fine - of 50 million euros against Google - while the Netherlands, Britain and Germany led in terms of the number of data breach notifications. The General Data Protection Regulation was introduced in an effort to safeguard sensitive personal information and prescribes stiff penalties if companies lose control of data or process it without proper consent.

  • Barrons.com

    IAG Soars as British Airways Owner Scraps Limit on Non-EU Shareholding

    International Consolidated Airlines Group shares took off on Friday after the British Airways owner lifted restrictions on non-EU investors owning the stock.

  • British Airways often worse than rivals on emissions - consumer group

    British Airways often worse than rivals on emissions - consumer group

    It said it compared carbon dioxide emissions on six popular international routes from London and found that on four of them BA was the worst performer. On a flight between London Heathrow and Miami, a passenger on BA would emit almost a third more than for the same journey on Virgin Atlantic, it said, while between London Stansted and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, a BA flight emitted nearly 50% more than flying with Ryanair , Jet2 or TUI , it added.

  • Boris Johnson Flies Into Dangerous Skies

    Boris Johnson Flies Into Dangerous Skies

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- You know British politics has been turned on its head when a Conservative government jumps in to rescue a failing company, and Labour supporters criticize the bailout as market distorting and wasteful. Yet that’s the odd situation that arises from the U.K.’s decision to save struggling regional airline Flybe.When faced with the collapses of travel agent Thomas Cook, contracting giant Carillion, British Steel and Monarch Airlines the previous Conservative government stood, rightly, to one side. Another airline with a similar sounding name, Flybmi, also got the cold shoulder.But Flybe’s getting different treatment and it’s clear why. The government’s catchphrase, repeated over and over since its December election victory was delivered by the votes of poorer regions of the country, is “leveling up” — to mitigate the dominance of southeast England. Flybe presented Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the first real test of that commitment to the economy beyond London and he wasn’t about to flub it. The danger for his government is that the rescue plan ends up deferring the inevitable for Flybe and creates other problems.The carrier, the U.K.’s most important for routes outside the capital, is often the only way people in more remote corners of the country can travel to other regional centers. Flybe’s owners — Connect Airways, a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, airport operator Stobart Group Ltd. and private equity firm Cyrus Capital — understood the power of that linchpin status when they appealed for help.If the rescue makes sense politically, there’s an economic case too: Regional routes are enormously important for business and leisure travelers. And research has shown that small airports have a positive impact on the per capita income and productivity in their local area. The government is right to take this seriously given the income disparities around Britain.All of this argues for doing something, but what? While the rescue plan hasn’t been published yet, Flybe is reportedly deferring an estimated 106 million pounds ($138 million) in annual Air Passenger Duty, which will help with its immediate cash flow crisis. There may also be a state-backed loan, Bloomberg reported, along with promises of additional funding from its owners.It’s not surprising that British Airways owner IAG SA complained to the European Commission on Wednesday. Flybe passengers often connect onto the flights of BA’s rival Virgin Atlantic; and why should a competitor be propped up with preferential tax treatment? The government insists it will abide by European Union state-aid rules, and it would be surprising if the EU had any objection. The Flybe rescue hardly bares comparison to many state-aid cases, including Italy’s endless cossetting of Alitalia.Even with an EU blessing, though, the Flybe decision risks unintended consequences. First, will the relief really make a difference? Flybe has been struggling for a while, reporting pretax losses of 9.4 million pounds in 2018. Before that it was Europe’s least profitable airline. While its customer numbers rose over the years, Flybe expanded its fleet too aggressively, leading to lower revenues per passenger seat.The airline has also had to contend with Brexit uncertainty, a weaker pound, rising oil prices and limited access to the big hubs such as London Heathrow where landing slots go to more profitable routes. The margins on Flybe’s routes are wafer thin. Even now it’s not clear it will ever take off in the way the consortium hoped when they bought the airline for 2.2 million pounds last year. Might the government be pulled into a more muscular rescue down the road if this one doesn’t work?Another risk is that this will set a precedent for other troubled companies once Britain leaves the EU and trade frictions take hold. As Johnson tries to deliver on his promises to voters in the English Midlands, north and elsewhere, it’s not hard to imagine the Tories slipping into the kind of interventionism they usually guard against.Then there’s the question of environmental impact. Air Passenger Duty was introduced in the 1990s as a stealth tax, but it now serves an important environmental function, encouraging passengers to think twice before booking a flight. Britain has one of the world’s highest passenger duties, with various tiers, so taking another look at how these work is no bad thing. But if the government plans to offer relief more broadly, as it has indicated it might in its March budget, it risks undermining carbon reduction goals that it’s already behind schedule in meeting.One alternative might have been to designate more of Flybe’s routes under “public service obligation” rules. PSOs are allowed under EU law for routes that are loss-making but worthy of a subsidy, and used liberally in France and other EU countries. The U.K. already subsidizes Flybe’s link between Heathrow and Newquay in Cornwall this way. Yet more PSOs means more burden on the taxpayer.Nor does any of this respond to the bigger reason why Flybe is deemed so important: the perilous state of Britain’s railways. Not all Flybe’s routes would be convenient for business travelers by train, but fixing the problem of inadequate and often abysmally run rail services in much of England would go a long way to creating alternatives to air travel and providing the connectivity and economic boost promised by the Tories.A long 2018 government report on the future of aviation in the U.K. warned that “supporting regional air routes can have unintended negative effects on the market as a whole.” It also noted that air connectivity “should act as a supplement to, instead of a substitute for” other forms of travel.If Johnson’s government is serious about its net-zero carbon goal, and boosting regional growth and connectivity, the Flybe rescue won’t be enough and may even be a setback. New rail infrastructure will take time, but better and faster train links would be far greater value for the taxpayer in the long term. To contact the author of this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael writes editorials on European politics and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • UK defends throwing Flybe a lifeline after rivals complain

    UK defends throwing Flybe a lifeline after rivals complain

    The British government defended a rescue deal for privately owned regional airline Flybe, after the owner of rival British Airways filed a complaint with European Union regulators on Wednesday calling it a "blatant misuse of public funds". A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed the claims made by Willie Walsh, the boss of BA's parent company IAG , that government help for Flybe contradicted European Union rules.

  • Grindr Shares Location, Sexual Orientation Data, Study Shows

    Grindr Shares Location, Sexual Orientation Data, Study Shows

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Grindr is sharing detailed personal data with thousands of advertising partners, allowing them to receive information about users’ location, age, gender and sexual orientation, a Norwegian consumer group said.The service -- described as the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people -- gave user data to third parties involved in advertising and profiling, according to a report by the Norwegian Consumer Council that was released Tuesday. Twitter Inc. ad subsidiary MoPub was used as a mediator for the data sharing and passed personal data to third parties, the report said.“Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,” said Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems. “This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.”The consumer group and Schrems’s privacy organization have filed three complaints against Grindr and five adtech companies to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority for breaching European data protection regulations. Schrems’s group Noyb will file similar complaints with the Austrian DPA in the coming weeks, according to the statement.Match Group Inc.’s popular dating apps OkCupid and Tinder LLC share data with each other and other brands owned by the company, the research found. OkCupid gave information pertaining to customers’ sexuality, drug use and political views, to the analytics company Braze Inc., the organization said.In a statement, Grindr said “while we reject a number of the report’s assumptions and conclusions, we welcome the opportunity to be a small part in a larger conversation about how we can collectively evolve the practices of mobile publishers and continue to provide users with access to an option of a free platform.”A spokeswoman for Match Group said OkCupid uses Braze to manage communications to its users, but that it only shared “the specific information deemed necessary” and “in line with the applicable laws including GDPR and CCPA.” Braze also said it didn’t sell personal data, nor share it between customers. Twitter is investigating the issue to “understand the sufficiency of Grindr’s consent mechanism” and has disabled the company’s MoPub account, a representative said.European consumer group BEUC urged national regulators to “immediately” investigate online advertising companies over possible violations of the bloc’s data protection rules, following the Norwegian report. It’s also written to European Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager to take action.“The report provides compelling evidence about how these so-called ad-tech companies collect vast amounts of personal data from people using mobile devices, which advertising companies and marketeers then use to target consumers,” BEUC said in an emailed statement. This happens “without a valid legal base and without consumers knowing it.”The European Union’s data protection law, GDPR, came into force in 2018 setting rules for what websites can do with user data. It mandates that companies must get unambiguous consent to collect information from visitors. The most serious violations can lead to fines of as much as 4% of a company’s global annual sales.Where Tech Giants Are Getting Slapped Over Privacy: QuickTakeIt’s part of a broader push across Europe to crack down on companies that fail to protect customer data. In January last year, Alphabet Inc.’s Google received a fine of 50 million euros ($56 million) from France’s privacy regulator following a complaint by Schrems over the company’s privacy policies. Prior to GDPR, the French watchdog levied maximum fines of 150,000 euros.The U.K. threatened Marriott International Inc. with a 99 million-pound ($128 million) fine in July following a hack of its reservation database, just days after the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office proposed handing a 183.4 million-pound penalty to British Airways in the wake of a data breach.Schrems has for years taken on large tech companies’ use of personal information, including filing lawsuits challenging the legal mechanisms Facebook Inc. and thousands of other companies use to move that data across borders.He’s become even more active since GDPR kicked in, filing privacy complaints against companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc., accusing them of breaching the bloc’s strict data protection rules. The complaints are also a test for national data protection authorities, who are obliged to examine them.In addition to the European complaints, a coalition of nine U.S. consumer groups urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of California, Texas and Oregon to open investigations.“All of these apps are available to users in the U.S. and many of the companies involved are headquartered in the U.S.,” groups including the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in a letter to the FTC. They asked the agency to look into whether the apps have upheld their privacy commitments.(Updates with FTC complaint from U.S. consumer groups in last two paragraphs)\--With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni and Ben Brody.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Syed in London at ssyed35@bloomberg.net;Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.net;Nate Lanxon in London at nlanxon@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    European Airlines Report Cargo Declines For 2019

    A number of Europe's largest airlines suffered year-over-year declines in cargo in 2019 as freight traffic failed to keep pace with passenger growth. Lufthansa Group carriers, which includes Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, saw cargo traffic, as measured in revenue cargo tonne (metric ton) kilometers, decline 3.6% in December and 2.1% for the full year when compared with 2018. The company's full-year cargo traffic was 10.66 billion cargo tonne kilometers.

  • Does International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?
    Simply Wall St.

    Does International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) Have A Healthy Balance Sheet?

    David Iben put it well when he said, 'Volatility is not a risk we care about. What we care about is avoiding the...

  • Benzinga

    International Airlines Group CEO Stepping Down

    One of the airline industry's highest-profile executives is retiring. International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh will step down from his role and from the IAG board on March 26 and will retire on June ...

  • Walsh hands over the controls after building British Airways parent IAG

    Walsh hands over the controls after building British Airways parent IAG

    Willie Walsh, who created British Airways parent IAG by dragging old-fashioned flag carriers into the modern age of budget flying, will step down in March to be replaced by Iberia boss Luis Gallego. Walsh, who had announced in November that he intended to retire in the next two years, will be succeeded by the man credited with turning round IAG-owned Iberia since on March 26, IAG said on Thursday. The appointment of Gallego, CEO of Iberia since 2014, meant there would be little change of direction at IAG, analysts said.

  • British Airways Empire-Builder Willie Walsh to Stand Down

    British Airways Empire-Builder Willie Walsh to Stand Down

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Willie Walsh, who took the helm at British Airways in 2005 and built it into the European airline giant IAG SA, will step down and be replaced by the head of the group’s Spanish unit.Walsh, 58, will leave the CEO role and the board in March and formally retire at the end of June, IAG said Thursday. He had signaled in November he would depart within two years. Iberia chief Luis Gallego will succeed him.A qualified pilot, Walsh faced down unions at BA to cut costs and boost earnings before leading the purchase of Iberia in 2011, establishing IAG to take on Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which had already grown through acquisitions.IAG added Aer Lingus and no-frills units Vueling and Level, consolidating its position as one of Europe’s most profitable carriers despite competition from low-cost rivals like Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. He agreed last year to buy Air Europa for 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), boosting Madrid’s status as a top hub and taking IAG’s fleet beyond 600 planes. “Willie has made IAG the success it is today, undoubtedly one of the greatest airline groups in the world,” said John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting in London. Gallego, 51, is “a solid choice” as his successor, having transformed Iberia from a carrier beset with labor strife to one of Europe’s top operators.IAG shares rose 1.3% to 626.40 pence by 12:55 a.m. in London trading, bringing the gain over the past year to 18%.The group’s chairman, Antonio Vazquez, said Walsh has been “the main driver of this unique idea that is IAG,” a reference to a corporate structure designed to foster acquisitions under a central holding company, avoiding the national clashes that are often a barrier to airline consolidation.The decision to appoint Gallego means British Airways chief Alex Cruz has been overlooked for the top job. Cruz took over at the U.K. carrier in 2016, having previously been CEO at Vueling.IAG said Thursday that it carried 118.25 million passengers in 2019, an increase of 4.7%, driven by Iberia, Level and Vueling. Capacity increased 4%, the group said.Gallego held various positions at Spanish airlines and entered the IAG fold via Clickair, which he helped found and which was acquired by Vueling, where he became chief operating officer. He later led Iberia’s regional arm before becoming its CEO in 2013. A new head for Iberia will be announced in due course, the company said.(Updates with 2019 passenger figures in ninth paragraph)\--With assistance from Chiara Remondini.To contact the reporter on this story: Siddharth Philip in London at sphilip3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tara Patel at tpatel2@bloomberg.net, Christopher Jasper, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Willie Walsh Wasn't Everybody's Favorite Pilot

    Willie Walsh Wasn't Everybody's Favorite Pilot

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A perennial risk in the airline industry is that executives splash money on shiny new planes but fail to make an adequate return. Willie Walsh, the chief executive officer of International Consolidated Airlines Group, has tried to do things differently by — shock! — insisting that the British, Irish and Spanish airlines he oversees make decent money. (Created in 2011, IAG now comprises British Airways, Spain’s Iberia, Ireland’s Aer Lingus and the no-frills Vueling and Level units).Nonetheless, the announcement on Thursday of his retirement won’t be mourned by all. His outspokenness and focus on the bottom line didn’t always endear him to customers, employees or suppliers. The moniker “Slasher Walsh” has stuck with him since his days running Aer Lingus, when he cut thousands of jobs and sold the company art collection.Today some British Airways customers lament that the “world’s favorite airline” isn’t as polished as it was — a series of IT glitches haven’t helped. Aircraft maker Airbus SE, engine supplier Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and Heathrow airport have all received a tongue-lashing from Walsh lately.Investors are a different story. They admired his disciplined approach to capital allocation and his persistence in trying to consolidate the fragmented European industry under the IAG umbrella. This holding company structure has become fashionable — Rynair Holdings Plc and Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG are copying it, and no wonder.If done well, knitting together national carriers like this should bring the cost-saving advantages of scale without compromising brand identities (or provoking political opposition to mergers). Walsh has been a keen acquirer but he also knew when to back off; he showed fortitude last year by acquiring a small stake in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA in anticipation of a possible bid, and then walking away when his expectations weren’t met.IAG’s operating margins have steadily expanded, allowing the company to increase shareholder returns. Dividends and buybacks have totaled 4.1 billion euros ($4.6 billion) since 2015. Since 2011 the shares have returned 190% with dividends reinvested, about 13% a year. That’s not shabby considering the desperately low valuations investors ascribe to airlines. IAG trades on less than 7 times estimated earnings.Walsh’s departure feels like the end of an era, and he’s not the only long-timer nearing the departure gate. Tim Clark is stepping down from Emirates and Michael O’Leary is giving up directly overseeing Ryanair to focus on its new holding structure.  IAG’s in decent shape but perhaps this is a good moment to be leaving the cockpit. The new decade will probably be hard for airlines. While Walsh has committed to achieving net zero emissions, environmental taxes may yet curtail his company’s growth ambitions or require expensive investments in even more fuel-efficient jets. His replacement, Luis Gallego of Iberia, will have to be equally disciplined.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Walsh to bow out after building British Airways parent IAG

    Walsh to bow out after building British Airways parent IAG

    Willie Walsh, who created British Airways' parent firm IAG by dragging old-fashioned flag carriers into the modern-age of budget flying, is to retire and will be replaced by Iberia boss Luis Gallego. Gallego, credited with turning round IAG-owned Iberia since taking over as CEO in 2014, will take over from Walsh on March 26, IAG said on Thursday. The appointment of Gallego meant there would be little change of direction at IAG, analysts said.