Further concessions from Ryanair sought to rescue Aer Lingus bid
Ryanair has been told by the European Commission that it must propose further concessions to rescue a bid for Aer Lingus, according to reports.
European Commission officials met executives from Dublin-based Ryanair in Brussels two days ago to discuss anti-trust objections to the bid and outlined shortcomings in remedies proposed by the carrier in December, Bloomberg reported yesterday. Ryanair had until the end of the month to respond, it said.
Antoine Colombani, a European Commission spokesman, declined to comment, as did a Ryanair spokesman.
Europe’s biggest discount airline, which owns 29.8 per cent of Aer Lingus, in June renewed its pursuit to buy the rest of its rival, five years after the EU agency blocked an earlier takeover attempt, saying it would create a monopoly for Irish flights. The €694 million bid has also drawn opposition from Aer Lingus and the Government.
Ryanair last month offered new concessions to the European Commission to allay antitrust concerns over the deal after an earlier offer failed to convince regulators. Neither Ryanair nor the EU gave details of the new proposal.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said in September that it might sell its Aer Lingus stake if regulators turned down a “revolutionary” package of concessions.
The airline has said it could exit all 46 Dublin routes that overlap with Aer Lingus and that several rival carriers were interested in competing at Irish airports. International Consolidated Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, in December signed a non-binding agreement to buy landing slots at London’s Heathrow airport from Ryanair if it completed the planned takeover.
The Government, which owns 25 per cent of Aer Lingus, last month said it would not support any Ryanair offer that would significantly undermine flight connections from Ireland. – (Bloomberg)