Authority to look at Aer Arann takeover
The proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Arann by UK logistics and haulage group Stobart has been notified to the Competition Authority.
The authority has indicated that it has begun a preliminary investigation into the transaction and has sought submissions from interested parties by December 3rd.
In a statement issued to The Irish Times yesterday, Aer Arann said: “In line with legal requirements, Aer Arann has made a submission to the Competition Authority to facilitate a potential restructure of the airline. The company is advancing plans to conclude an agreement whereby the Stobart Group will increase its stake in the airline to 45 per cent and to allow additional fresh investment.”
It is understood that this will also involve another investor coming on board with Aer Arann.
The identity of the investor is not clear but it is thought to have an existing connection with Stobart, which became a significant shareholder in the Irish airline when it exited examinership in 2010.
Chairman and significant shareholder Pádraig Ó Céidigh is expected to have his shareholding diluted as a result of the restructuring of Aer Arann.
The restructuring is being planned in advance of a major aircraft order by the regional airline. The Irish carrier looks set to add 10 new ATR aircraft to its fleet. These have a list price of $200 million (€154.27).
The new aircraft will facilitate the expected growth of Aer Arann in the coming years under the Aer Lingus franchise umbrella.
Aer Arann’s operations are now almost exclusively for Aer Lingus. Aer Arann recently took the decision to end its services from Waterford airport from January. A number of senior appointments have also been made at Aer Arann by Stobart of late.