(Adds dropped words in 6th paragraph)
* Company had issued profit warning on March 20
* British Airways owner IAG wants to buy Norwegian Air
* Graphic: reut.rs/2KaDO2D
OSLO, April 26 (Reuters) - Budget airline Norwegian Air said on Thursday it had received “several inquiries” in the wake of the advance by British Airways-owner IAG, as it reported a larger first-quarter loss on Thursday.
Before the news of IAG’s interest, Norwegian Air had warned of a bigger loss to cope with higher fuel costs.
“Norwegian has received several inquiries following IAG Group’s announcement of its acquisition of 4.6 percent of the shares in the company,” Norwegian said in a statement.
“The Norwegian Board of Directors has established a steering committee and engaged financial and judicial advisors to review the situation, handle relevant inquiries and to safeguard the interests of all shareholders.”
The firm’s losses before interest and taxes deepened by 31 percent to 2.2 billion crowns ($276.40 million) year-on-year, while its revenues grew by a third over the same period to 7 billion crowns.
Norwegian Air raised 1.3 billion crowns in a share issue to help fund its transatlantic expansion, a still unproven bet on whether a budget airline can replicate the model that worked for European flights.
Shares in Norwegian Air are up 48 percent since the start of the year thanks to IAG’s interest in bidding for the company.
Norwegian reiterated its outlook.
($1 = 7.8648 Norwegian crowns)
Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik