State to become a “more active” shareholder in Aer Lingus
Minister for Transport to seek dividend payout each year and new routes to boost economy
Aer Lingus has said it will pay a dividend when it makes a profit if this is deemed “appropriate and prudent” in the context of its financial position.
“The Minister wants the Government to pursue a more active shareholder role, including securing new routes which will benefit trade and tourism and the payment of an annual dividend,” said a spokesman for the Minister.
This chimes with Aer Lingus strategy as the airline has said it will pay a dividend when it makes a profit if this is deemed “appropriate and prudent” in the context of its financial position.
Aer Lingus paid a 3 cent a share dividend for 2011 and 4 cent a share for 2012. This means the Government has received just under €9.4 million in dividends from the airline over the past two years.
Aer Lingus is also expected to confirm routes from Dublin to San Francisco on the US west coast and Toronto in Canada.
Board members Francis Hackett and Colin Hunt are government nominees and a third, Leslie Buckley, stepped down last year and has to replaced.
The spokesman said the Minister “does not think the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus should be sold until the UK authorities have reached a firm decision on Ryanair’s stake”.
The UK competition commission has investigated Ryanair’s 29.8 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus. In preliminary findings last month, it said the stake gives Ryanair “the ability to influence the commercial policy and strategy” of Aer Lingus.
The commission is expected to publish its final report by July 11th and could order Ryanair to sell some or all of its stake in its competitor.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has disputed the commission’s findings.