26 JANUARY 2015

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Article from BTNews 26 JANUARY 2015

BA Aer Lingus bid moves on

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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