UPDATE 2-eDreams trading suspended after BA and Iberia withdraw fares

(Adds eDreams comment)

MADRID, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Shares in online travel agency eDreams ODIGEO plunged 59 percent on the Madrid stock exchange on Friday after British Airways and Iberia said they were withdrawing their fares from three of its websites.

Trading in the shares was later suspended by Spain’s stock market regulator. They last changed hands at 1.023 euros each.

The firm’s debut on the Madrid stock exchange in April after a three-year market drought appeared at the time to be a sign of resumed investor appetite for Spanish assets following a severe economic downturn and a European debt crisis.

The two airlines, which are part of the International Airlines Group, said in a joint statement on Friday they would no longer allow the agency to promote their fares on eDreams in Spain, Opodo in France and, due to a lack of transparency in the final price.

In the statement, BA and Iberia said eDreams’ practices “go against European and Spanish legislation and hurt the companies by impeding transparent information on fares for clients”.

eDreams ODIGEO denied the accusation.

“Contrary to what BA and Iberia announced today, the core of the issue at stake has nothing to do with compliance - eDreams is compliant in all juridsdictions - but with commercial negotiations between Iberia and BA as (they) try to impose a new distribution policy versus travel agents,” it said in an emailed statement.

The firm is in talks with IAG to reinstate ticketing authority in the three affected websites, it said, while playing down the impact of the dispute.

“Overall the bookings of Iberia and BA in the three affected websites represented 1.42 percent of the total eDreams ODIGEO bookings in the last three months,” the company said.

The Spanish stock market regulator did not say when the suspension would be lifted. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Julien Toyer and Andrew Roche)


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