Ryanair offers to sell Aer Lingus stake

Sale will be subject to approval from 50.1 per cent of Aer Lingus’ shareholders

Ryanair has offered to “unconditionally” sell its 29 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus to any other EU airline. Photo: Bloomberg

Ryanair has offered to “unconditionally” sell its 29 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus to any other EU airline. Photo: Bloomberg

Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 11:27

Ryanair has offered to “unconditionally” sell its 29 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus to any other EU airline.

The low cost carrier said it was making the offer “in order to dispel the [the UK competition commission’s] unfounded and invented concern that Ryanair’s shareholding may prevent Aer Lingus from being acquired by another EU airline”.

Ryanair added that it was willing to sell its stake, which it has held for six and a half years, to any other EU airline who makes an offer subject to approval from 50.1 per cent of Aer Lingus’s shareholders.

The airline also denied that its partial ownership of Aer Lingus had resulted in reduced competition.

Ryanair’s said the competition commission’s own provisional findings provide no evidence to support this claim.

“In fact, Ryanair’s recent (3rd) offer for Aer Lingus was prohibited by the EU precisely because of the evidence, submitted by both Aer Lingus and the Irish Government, that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has intensified during the past six and a half years,”a spokesman said.

“Despite...years of evidence, and repeated public statements, that no other EU airline has any interest in acquiring Aer Lingus,” he added.

Ryanair said it took the move in order to eliminate “any remaining shred of credibility from this [competition commission] process and eliminate any doubt about this imaginary albeit non-existent concern”.

“This remedy unconditionally removes any ability by Ryanair to block any future takeover of Aer Lingus by another EU airline,” he said.