Who Owns Qantas Airways: The Largest Shareholders Overview

Article Teaser: Who Owns Qantas Airways: The Largest Shareholders Overview

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) is an Australian-based airline that makes money mainly through passenger air transportation, but a small part of its revenue also comes from its freight service. Let’s now look at who owns Qantas Airways and who controls it.

The largest shareholder of Qantas Airways Limited was Pendal Group, an Australian investment manager, which owned a 5% share. Qantas Airways ownership is quite dispersed, and no other shareholder breached the 5% threshold as of August 2021. Few other asset managers are hovering around the 5% threshold, including giant BlackRock.

 Qantas Airways's Largest Shareholders (Aug 2021)
Shareholder Ownership Voting Power
Pendal Group 5.2% 5.2%
Other 94.8% 94.8%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Annual Report

Qantas Airways largest shareholders by share ownership and vote control (donut chart) Qantas Airways largest shareholders by share ownership and vote control (donut chart)

The largest shareholder of Qantas Airways as of August 2021 was Pendal Group, an Australian asset manager. It was the only institution that officially reported holding more than a 5% stake. Pendal is investing money on behalf of its clients, who are the ultimate owners.

  • Recently, Pendal Group was acquired by Perpetual Limited, another Australian asset manager.
  • Note that Pendal Group’s last filing, when they announced over a 5% stake, was from 2019. Australian rules do not require an annual update of ownership stakes, even if it is over 5%. The update is needed only if voting power changes by one percentage point vs. the previous filling or drops below 5%.

As of August 2021, no other company reported holding more than 5% of Qantas Airways. However, it can be seen from submitted notices that few other asset managers are close to this threshold, often submitting a notice of 5% holding and then later submitting a drop below 5%. One of those asset managers is BlackRock.

Based on that, it seems that among top Qantas Airways shareholders are mainly asset managers.

When you look at the list of shareholders in Qantas’ annual report, you will find that the largest shareholder is HSBC Custody Nominees (Australia) Limited, followed by J.P. Morgan Nominees Australia Limited, followed by other nominees companies. These entities are technically shareholders of Qantas but are holding these shares on behalf of their clients and do not have, in most cases, the right to dispose of the shares or to execute voting power. Therefore, this list is irrelevant as it does not tell us anything about company owners.

Qantas Airways is a public company owned by its shareholders. However, the Australian government wants to keep the ownership in the hands of Australian companies. Therefore it is required that foreign shareholders cannot, in aggregate, hold more than 49% of Qantas shares.

Qantas Airways has quite a long history. It was founded in 1920, later nationalized, then in 1995, it became publicly traded on Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) under ticker QAN.

There are also ADRs linked to Qantas shares traded on the US OTC market under the symbol QABSY. One ADR is equivalent to ten(10) ordinary shares.

In this article, I will dive more into who Qantas Airways’s largest shareholders are, how many shares and votes they have, and how much their stake is worth. I will also explore some other topics related to its ownership structure.

If you are interested, you can also explore who owns other companies like Tesla, Volkswagen, Ferrari, or Lockheed Martin.

🕹️ Who Owns Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) and Who Has Control?

Qantas Airways largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Qantas Airways has only one class of shares, and therefore there is no difference between the shareholder’s ownership and voting power.

Ownership of Qantas Airways is quite dispersed, and the main shareholders are asset managers investing money in the name of other investors. The largest one is Pendal Group with a 5% share.

No shareholder or group of shareholders has majority control over the company.

Qantas Airways’ dispersed ownership might bring its own set of problems thanks to conflicts of interest between Qantas Airways’ management and its investors, which are represented by another management layer in the form of asset managers.

In these situations, insiders of the asset manager shareholders and insiders of Qantas Airways hold significant power over the company. In the case of Qantas Airways, insiders are mainly CEO Alan Joyce, board chairman Richard Goyder, and other board members.

There are also several protectionistic measures in place to keep Qantas under Australian control:

  • At all times, at least two-thirds of the directors must be Australian citizens.
  • Substantial foreign shareholders, in aggregate, may not vote to appoint any more than one-third of the directors.
  • At all times, the person presiding as chairperson at a meeting of directors must be an Australian citizen.

Qantas Airways also has in place a classified board system where board members are nominated usually for three(3) year terms, and each year third of the board term expires. This is another measure that makes it harder for outside investors to take over the company quickly.

🗳️ Breakdown of Qantas Airways’s Outstanding Shares and Votes by Top Shareholders

Qantas Airways Limited had a total of 1,886 million outstanding shares as of August 2021. The following table shows how many shares each Qantas Airways’s large shareholder holds.

 Qantas Airways's Outstanding Shares by Shareholder
In millions of shares as of August 2021
Shareholder Class A Total % Share
Pendal Group 98 98 5.2%
Other 1,788 1,788 94.8%
Total (# millions) 1,886 1,886 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Annual Report

There were 1,886 million votes distributed among shareholders of Qantas Airways Limited. The table below shows the total number of votes for each large shareholder.

 Qantas Airways's Vote Control by Shareholder
In millions of votes as of August 2021
Shareholder Class A Total % Share
Pendal Group 98 98 5.2%
Other 1,788 1,788 94.8%
Total (# millions) 1,886 1,886 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Annual Report

💵 Breakdown of Qantas Airways’s Market Value by Shareholder

The following table summarizes how much is each shareholder’s stake in Qantas Airways Limited worth.

However, keep in mind that a stake in Qantas Airways could be just one part of their portfolio, and their total worth could be bigger, thanks to other investments. It could also be lower if they have debts.

 Qantas Airways's Market Value by Shareholder
Market value in billions $ as of August 2021
Shareholder Class A Total % Share
Pendal Group $0 $0 5.2%
Other $6 $6 94.8%
Total ($ billions) $6 $6 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Annual Report

Let’s now look at each Qantas Airways shareholder individually.

📒 Who Are the Largest Shareholders of Qantas Airways Limited

Let’s now go through the list of the largest shareholders of Qantas Airways Limited one by one and look at who they are, how many shares they own, what is their voting power, and how much is their stake in Qantas Airways worth.

#1 Pendal Group

Pendal Group holds 5% of Qantas Airways’s shares, making it its largest shareholder.

Qantas Airways largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Pendal Group owns 98 million Qantas Airways shares, representing 98 million shareholder votes. The market value of Pendal Group’s stake in Qantas Airways was $0 billion as of August 2021.

Pendal Group Limited is an investment manager focusing on active management both for individual and institutional clients. Pendal is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, but is also active in other countries, including the US.

❔ Who and When Founded Qantas Airways?

Qantas Airways was founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (Q.A.N.T.A.S) in 1920 by Paul McGinness, Hudson Fysh, and Fergus McMaster, who was the first Chairman of the Board.

Here is a timeline of significant events in the company’s history:

  • 1920: Qantas was founded by Paul McGinness, Hudson Fysh, and Fergus McMaster.
  • 1947: Australian government acquires Qantas for market value and thus nationalizes the company. Co-founder Hudson Fysh was the only manager of the company who supported this -move, and he became chairman, succeeding co-founder McMasters.
  • 1952: Qantas co-founder Paul McGinness dies in Perth.
  • 1955: Co-founder Hudson Fysh retires as managing director after controversies with the rest of the Qantas board but stays on as Chairman.
  • 1966: Co-founder Hudson Fysh retires as Chairman of Qantas.
  • 1992: Federal Cabinet announces Qantas’ $400 million bid for Australian Airlines and that 100% of the enlarged Qantas Group would be privatized.
  • 1993: Qantas and Australian Airlines merge
  • 1995: Qantas Airways’ public share offer was launched, and their stocks were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • 1998: Qantas co-founded Oneword alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific,
  • 2001: Jetstar brand was created after the discount airline Virgin Blue entered the Australian market in 2000.
  • 2013: Qantas and Emirates create an alliance

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