26 JANUARY 2015
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Reports over the weekend indicate that the Irish government is prepared to accept a fresh bid by IAG for the airline at €2.50 a share for its 25.1% holding against the original €2.30, valuing it at €1.34bn.
The deal is far from done.
The largest shareholder is Ryanair at 29.9%, with Etihad at 4.9% and investment company Crystal Amber 2.8%. It is suggested that Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, is working in concert with Ryanair boss Michal O’Leary but the situation is not clear with the budget airline still awaiting a decision on its shareholding from the UK Court of Appeal.
Aer Lingus holds 23 slot pairs at Heathrow worth between US$10m and US$30m each, depending on the time of day. The airline's London services are clearly an important part of its profitability and a future holding for IAG/BA which would probably not be the subject of interest by the Competition Commission, the access still less than continental airlines at their main hub airports.
A senior industry figure said the move seemed to make sense “unlike the Iberia investment which after nearly five years is still a serious problem and a mistake.”
Christoph Mueller stands down as Chief Executive of Aer Lingus on 28 February. His replacement is likely to be an IAG selection. www.aerlingus.com www.iairgroup.com
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