Friday 30 September 2016

IAG offers easier air connections to win EU support for bid

Donal O'Donovan and agencies

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

A stock investor gestures as he looks at a screen displaying share prices at a security firm in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province. Photo: Getty Images
A stock investor gestures as he looks at a screen displaying share prices at a security firm in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province. Photo: Getty Images

IAG has offered to connect passengers from Ireland with long-haul flights out of London operated by rivals in an attempt to allay European Union competition concerns over its bid for Irish carrier Aer Lingus Group, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

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Shares in Aer Lingus fell slightly yesterday to €2.415 each, below the IAG offer price shareholders are due to vote on on July 16.

EU regulators said earlier in the week that IAG has offered a number of concessions aimed at winning regulatory approval for its planned takeover.

The offer to connect passengers to rivals' onward flights is aimed at reassuring Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airway, in particular, sources said.

IAG has not made any offer to surrender London Heathrow slots of the combined group, said the people.

EU approval is needed for the merger to go ahead.

Elsewhere, the Greek crisis dominated sentiment. Signs of possible deal steadied markets yesterday and sent US bond yields to nine-month highs by curbing demand for safe-haven US debt.

Euro zone partners offered to release billions in frozen aid in a last-minute push to win Greece's acceptance for a cash-for-reform deal.

In Dublin, the Iseq index was among markets that lifted going into the weekend, closing up 0.31pc at 6,367, with rises also registered in Paris and Frankfurt, though London fell.

After its annual general meeting yesterday, shares in Providence Resources shot up 11.67pc to 33.5 cents each.

Bank of Ireland shares continued their recent rise, up 2.7pc to 38.1 cents each.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.1pc after dropping earlier in the day. MSCI's all-country index dipped 0.1pc.

Irish Independent

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