Air Transport World

British Airways woos future shareholders. (after privatization)

British Airways woos future shareholders

"Britain's highest-flying company.' This is the description of British Airways that is being put to potential institutional and individual stock purchasers as the airline runs up toward a launch from the public to the private sector in the opening weeks of 1987.

The word company, rather than airline, has been chosen with care by those who are orchestrating the privatization campaign. It is hoped that BA will appear among the industrials in stock exchange listings, thereby reflecting the diversity and strength of its activities and moving it away in the public mind from the cyclical pattern that the public associates with the airline business. This philosophy began to emerge after John Moore, Britain's Secretary of State for Transport, announced details of BA's upcoming flotation.

Although strenuous efforts will be made to sell shares in four major overseas markets --the United States, Canada, Switzerland and Japan--rules will be introduced to prevent foreign ownership from reaching a level that would jeopardize the status of BA as UK flag carrier on international routes. What that level will be has not yet been spelled out, but it is anticipated that 25% will be the point at which the government will step in to prevent further shares from going abroad. The government will have powers to stop foreigners buying shares, to disenfranchise them, or to compel them to sell all or part of their shareholdings. Moore said he did not envision more than 20% of the issue being allocated to overseas markets initially. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.