Aer Lingus shares rise on talk of renewed IAG bid

Aer Lingus planes at Dublin Airport

John Mulligan

Shares in Aer Lingus jumped more than 3pc within an hour of the stock market closing yesterday amid rumours that British Airways' owner IAG had increased its bid for the Irish carrier.

The Aer Lingus shares ended the trading in Dublin at €2.30, giving the airline a market capitalisation of €1.22bn.

There have been rumours that IAG, which is headed by former Aer Lingus chief executive and pilot Willie Walsh, may now have indicated to Aer Lingus that it's prepared to pay between €2.40 and €2.60 a share for the Irish airline.

The first approach made by IAG for Aer Lingus before Christmas is understood to have floated a €2.20 per share indicative offer. The approach by IAG was rejected by the Aer Lingus board.

IAG declined to comment yesterday evening.

IAG's own corporate broker, Barclays, has been actively dealing Aer Lingus shares in the past week.

The Government owns 25.1pc of Aer Lingus and would certainly seek a premium to the €2.20 price if it was to consider a sale of the stake.

Ryanair owns just under 30pc of Aer Lingus. Gulf carrier Etihad owns just under 5pc of the airline.

An indicative offer of €2.50 per share would value Aer Lingus at €1.33bn, which would value the Government's holding at €335m.