Court ruling next week on Aer Lingus reserves
The High Court will make a final ruling next week on Aer Lingus’s bid to reduce its capital reserves by €500 million so as to pay dividends to shareholders.
Aer Lingus asked the court yesterday to allow the reduction to proceed without conditions. However, lawyers for the trustees of its workers’ pension funds said any reduction must be conditional on maintaining reserves at a level capable of dealing with the €930 million deficit in the funds.
Aer Lingus was trying “to re-argue the toss” on an issue that was very important for his clients, said Brian O’Moore SC, for the trustees.
Mr Justice Roderick Murphy last July refused to sanction the €500 million reduction unless Aer Lingus provided for potential legal claims resulting from the pensions’ deficit. Yesterday, Paul Sreenan SC, for Aer Lingus, asked for an unconditional order allowing Aer Lingus to reduce its share capital.
Mr Sreenan said his client believed it was unnecessary to attach conditions to the final orders and would rather have the application turned down than have conditions attached.
The airline was opposed to any further adjournment of the matter as pension discussions had not borne any fruit by now and the matter needed to be brought to finality.
Mr O’Moore said his clients wanted a further adjournment of some weeks to allow talks involving various parties connected to the dispute to continue in the hope some agreement could be reached.
Mr Justice Murphy said he would rule on the matter next Wednesday.