UK group reportedly bid for stake in Stobart Air

Stobart Air operates the Aer Lingus Regional service under contract to the larger airline

Stobart Air operates the Aer Lingus Regional service under contract to the larger airline

Stobart Air operates the Aer Lingus Regional service under contract to the larger airline

 

Transport business Stobart Group did not comment on reports that it had bid around €460,000 for a stake in Aer Lingus Regional carrier, Stobart Air.

Reports yesterday said that the UK transport group had paid up to £400,000 sterling (€460,000) for 49 per cent of Stobart Air.

However, a Stobart Group spokesman refused to comment and said that the company had nothing to add last week’s statement, which confirmed the transport business was considering a bid among other options.

Stobart Group was reported to have bought the stake from accountants EY in the UK, which is administrator of Connect Airways, a shareholder in the airline. The transport group was one of Connect’s investors.

Stobart Air operates the Aer Lingus Regional service under contract to the larger airline. The deal, due for renewal by 2022, is seen as vital to Stobart Air’s future.

The airline was reported to be close to seeking High Court protection from creditors earlier in the month. Sources did not rule this out yesterday.

Industry figures also questioned whether Stobart’s move to take 49 per cent of the airline could create difficulty with EU aviation ownership rules

These bar shareholders from outside the bloc taking control of any EU-registered airline.

While Stobart Group is taking a minority stake, the purchase would still give it effective control, according to reports yesterday. Workers own the other 51 per cent of the carrier.

Stobart Group guarantees the airline’s lease payments, which run to around €14 million a-year.

The Aer Lingus contract, under which Stobart Air flies between the Republic and regional airports in Britain, remains the carrier’s main business.