Staff move against capital reserves cut
Groups representing thousands of former and serving Aer Lingus staff have urged the Commercial Court not to approve a €500 million reduction in the group’s capital reserves to pay dividends to shareholders at a time when there is a €748 million deficit in their pension schemes.
Aer Lingus Group plc claims it has no “legal” obligation to address the pension funds deficit, while Ryanair, a 30 per cent shareholder in the airline, has threatened legal action if the board moved to reduce the deficit without the approval of shareholders, the court heard. Although the Minister for Finance had received legal advice the pensioners could make a reasonable legal case that the company has an obligation to reduce the pension fund deficit, the company’s view was that such a case would not succeed, the court heard.
Mr Justice Roderick Murphy has reserved to July 31st his judgment on the application by Aer Lingus Group plc, the holding company of the Aer Lingus companies, to approve the €500 million share capital reduction.