Thursday 23 October 2014

€652,000 share windfall for airline chief Mueller

Published 12/02/2013 | 04:00

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller has acquired shares valued at €652,000 in the airline under the carrier's long-term incentive programme.

But 253,000 of the 486,717 shares, valued at €339,000, were withheld in order to pay the tax that became liable under the transaction. The windfall comes just as Aer Lingus faces its third – and most likely the last – takeover attempt by Ryanair. Either Ryanair will succeed this time around or possibly sell its 29.8pc stake in Aer Lingus if it fails.

Mr Mueller now directly holds 738,625 shares in Aer Lingus that are valued at €990,000. But he holds an additional 1.09 million shares valued at €1.46m via a trustee and has share options in respect of a further 1.5 million shares that would have a current market value of just over €2m.

The notice to the stock exchange notes that the vesting of the most recent share award occurred last week in the Isle of Man.

Mr Mueller secured potentially lucrative share options and awards when he joined the carrier in 2009 as chief executive.

He got 500,000 shares in lieu of a signing bonus, which were contingent on him staying with the airline until at least September 2011.

Options

He was also given a further 1.5 million options that vest on dates between September last year and September 2014 at prices between 57.3 cent and 88.6 cent a share. He was awarded options when joining in 2009 "specifically to facilitate, in unusual circumstances, the recruitment of Mr Mueller", said Aer Lingus at the time.

The stock exchange was also told yesterday that Aer Lingus chief financial officer Andrew Macfarlane has acquired 440,607 shares that have vested. They had a market value of €590,000. Just over 229,000 of those shares were withheld in order to pay tax that came liable.

The share option vestings also come as Aer Lingus is trying to reach agreement with a pension trustee over a €700m-plus deficit at a pension scheme that serves thousands of current and former staff at the airline, as well as staff at the Dublin Airport Authority.

Irish Independent

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