BA investors boosted as owner hands over £600m in dividends after profits and revenues soar
British Airways owner IAG is giving shareholders £600million in dividends after profit and revenues soared.
IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus and Spanish airline Vueling, raked in profits of £2.6billion last year, 9.6 per cernt higher than in 2017. Revenues surged 6.7 per cent to £20.9billion.
Figures were better than expected but chief executive Willie Walsh warned that profits will be flat this year due to higher fuel costs.
Dividend boom: British Airways owner IAG raked in profits of £2.6bn last year, 9.6 per cent higher than a year earlier. Revenues surged 6.7 per cent to £20.9bn
The profits boost comes after a massive customer data breach at BA, which could leave IAG with a £500million fine.
It has also been a difficult year for the industry generally after a string of collapses and the rescue of regional carrier Flybe, which was effectively bought for £2.8million to save it from administration.
But Walsh shrugged off concerns surrounding the sector, adding: ‘Flybe was making up excuses for what has been a poor performance for years.
‘It’s not really relevant to the industry at large.’
Walsh, 57, also dismissed fears that a no-deal Brexit would ground flights. ‘We will continue flying, both the UK and EU have stated that. People don’t need to be concerned about that,’ he said.
Earlier this month, IAG placed a limit on non-EU shareholders, but said that UK residents would be treated in the same way as those from the EU even after Brexit.
However, Walsh insisted the move had nothing to do with Brexit, even though it led to fears over the treatment of British investors after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
‘I know the timing of it makes it look Brexit-related, but it’s related to the influx in US shareholders that we saw going through January and February,’ Walsh said.
‘It’s not an issue. I remain confident that we will have an air transport agreement. We’re comfortable that these issues will be addressed.’
IAG has also ordered 18 Boeing 777-9 planes after shunning Airbus, due to its dissatisfaction with Rolls-Royce, which makes the engines for Airbus’s A350 aircraft.