Business Irish

Thursday 23 November 2017

Easyjet 'not interested' in buying Aer Lingus stake

John Reynolds

EASYJET, the UK-based low-fares airline which is a rival of Ryanair, has ruled out any interest in the Government's 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus. It has "no current interest" in the Irish national carrier, a senior source at the company confirmed to the Sunday Independent.

The news emerges after Ryanair, which owns just under 30 per cent of Aer Lingus, confirmed its interest earlier this week in buying the Government's shareholding, which is worth about €110m.

But based on the latest Exchequer figures showing that the nation spent €82.5m more than it earned every day for the first four months of the year, this would cover less than a day-and-a-half's worth of the State's €9.9bn budget deficit for that period.

Following last week's denial by the Department of Finance that it had been approached by London investment firm Cenkos Securities on behalf of an investment consortium interested in the stake, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that no discussions about the Aer Lingus stake have taken place between him and Air India, which is believed to be interested in using Dublin Airport as a European hub.

As the airline posted a €55.9m first-quarter operating loss earlier this week, Davy stockbrokers' analyst Stephen Furlong predicted that Aer Lingus may make a profit of just €17m this year.

Sunday Indo Business

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