By Gwladys Fouche and Isla Binnie
OSLO/MADRID (Reuters) – Shares in budget carrier Norwegian Air <NWC.OL> rose on Friday after British Airways and Iberia owner IAG <ICAG.L> denied a Spanish media report it was preparing another offer for the airline.
The shares were up 6.3% at 0734 GMT, outperforming a flat Oslo benchmark index <.OSEBX> after rising as much as 12% at the opening of trading.
“We have said that we are no longer interested in Norwegian several times in the last few months. Nothing has changed,” an IAG spokeswoman said.
Spanish news website OKdiario reported late on Thursday that IAG would make an offer for Norwegian within a fortnight, citing anonymous sources.
IAG said in January that it would not bid for Norwegian and planned to sell its 3.93% shareholding in the company.
Norwegian subsequently raised 3 billion Norwegian crowns (279.4 million pounds) to shore up its finances. Norwegian has shaken up long-haul rivals by offering cut-price transatlantic fares, but its rapid expansion has left it with hefty losses and high debts.
“We do not think that in Norwegian’s current state the debt-ridden airline can hope for a white knight – it will have to try and survive on its own,” Bernstein said in a note to clients, which also noted IAG’s denial of an offer.
Norwegian Air declined to comment.
(Editing by Keith Weir and David Evans)