Phoenix-based private equity firm Indigo Partners, the largest shareholder in Wizz Air (W6, Budapest), carried out a long-held plan to reduce its stake in the LCC to comply with European Union ownership rules. It cut its stake from 20.6% to 3.4%, stock market filings have shown.

Wizz Air said in April 2019 that it was hunting for more European investors so it could comply with EU ownership rules, which say that airlines operating within the EU must be more than 50% owned by European Economic Area (EEA) nationals.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the investment bank that was the lead coordinator in the sale, said that the move would “at a minimum, maintain Wizz’s current level of EEA qualifying ownership, but more likely increase qualifying national ownership”. Wizz Air has not provided any further details on the sale.

Wizz Air's Jersey-based parent Wizz Air Holdings is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Indigo Partners said it sold about 12.5 million shares in the airline at a 3.5% discount to the stock’s last close. That raised proceeds of around GBP500 million pounds (USD649 million), leaving Indigo with 2.5 million shares.

The sale of Indigo's shares should help the carrier's compliance with EU shareholder rules following Britain's exit from the EU.

The move came days after Wizz Air revealed an improved financial performance, upgrading its annual profit forecast following a strong third-quarter performance.