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Ryanair withdraws its challenge

Ryanair’s High Court challenge over an alleged “gagging” order on a television debate about its proposed buyout of Aer Lingus was withdrawn yesterday following the rejection by the Government of the airline’s €748 million takeover offer.

Ryanair brought the case over a decision by the State body responsible for monitoring takeovers that it could not take part in an RTÉ Prime Time debate because to do so would breach statutory rules governing such takeover bids. The Irish Takeover Panel opposed Ryanair’s challenge.

The case opened on Thursday before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill.

It was due to resume yesterday but Ross O’Gorman, for Ryanair, told Mr Justice O’Neill it would not be proceeding in light of the rejection by the Government of the takeover.

Mr Ross said Ryanair would be pursuing, on a future date, its claim for damages over alleged unfair treatment of it by the panel during the takeover process.

Northern firms win £520m contracts

Three Northern Ireland firms operating in the construction and defence industries have won a share of contracts worth a total of £520 million.

Farrans Construction, which is owned by CRH, and Dromore company Graham, are part of a consortium which landed a £320 million contract from the Scottish government.

The Northern Ireland companies together with Bilfinger Berger, Germany’s second largest builder, have won the contract to upgrade a section of the M80 motorway to the north of Glasgow.

Separately, Northern Ireland employees of French-owned defence company Thales celebrated a contract from the UK ministry of defence.

Thales, which employs 530 people in east Belfast, has won a £200 million contract to produce and support the Starstreak high velocity missile system.

Intel chairman retires in May

Intel chairman Craig Barrett will retire at the company’s agm in May. He will be replaced by Jane Shaw, who will be non-executive chairwoman, the company said yesterday.

She has served on Intel’s board since 1993. – (Bloomberg)

Google leaves them goggle-eyed

Google’s quarterly earnings beat forecasts. Google said fourth-quarter net income fell to $382 million, or $1.21 a share, from $1.21 billion, or $3.79 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges, profit was $5.10 a share, beating the average analyst forecast of $4.95. Revenue rose 18 per cent to $5.7 billion. – (Reuters)