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Spanish banks take 5% stake in Vueling after Apax sale

An investment vehicle for several Spanish savings banks has acquired a 5% stake in Barcelona-based Vueling as part of the recent placement in which private equity firm Apax Partner sold its remaining 21% stake in the airline.

The Atalaya Inversiones investment vehicle is owned by five Spanish savings banks - Caja Badajoz, Caja Castilla La Mancha, Le General de Grenada, CajaSol and Caja Murcia.

It acquired just under 750,000 Vueling shares during the placement, giving it a 5% stake in the company.

“This investment vehicle has acquired this significant stake as a medium/long term financial investment, in keeping with investment strategy Atalaya has followed on other publicly-listed Spanish companies since its inception in 2000,” the airline says.

Apax had been the largest founding shareholder in Vueling – which launched operations three years ago – with around 40% of the carrier.

It reduced this to 20.97% following Vueling’s IPO late last year and sold the remainder during a placement carried out by Goldman Sachs on 6 June.

The shares were placed with Spanish and international institutional investors, and Atalaya Inversiones has since declared its 5% holding in line with stock market rules.

Following the placement, Inversiones Hemsferio is the largest remaining shareholder in the airline with 15.9%.

Other shareholders include founders and Vueling management with 11%, US investors including JetBlue president Dave Barger holding 3%, and a free float of 62.7%.

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