| 17.5°C Dublin

Etihad's stake in Aer Lingus doubles in value

Close

<a href='http://cdn3.independent.ie/incoming/article30911940.ece/d79db/binary/BUSINESS-Aer-Lingus-shares.png' target='_blank'>Click to see a bigger version of the graphic</a>

<a href='http://cdn3.independent.ie/incoming/article30911940.ece/d79db/binary/BUSINESS-Aer-Lingus-shares.png' target='_blank'>Click to see a bigger version of the graphic</a>

<a href='http://cdn3.independent.ie/incoming/article30911940.ece/d79db/binary/BUSINESS-Aer-Lingus-shares.png' target='_blank'>Click to see a bigger version of the graphic</a>

Gulf airline Etihad has more than doubled the value of its 4.9pc stake in Aer Lingus, with the holding now worth €66.4m compared to the €32.5m it paid for it between 2012 and 2014.

The big financial return has come as British Airways' owner IAG made a play to buy Aer Lingus before Christmas.

Etihad, which is headed by Australian chief executive James Hogan, acquired its first stake in Aer Lingus in spring 2012. It revealed then that it had bought a 2.98pc stake, giving it 15.95m shares in the Irish airline.

At the time, shares in Aer Lingus were trading at about 97 cent. Etihad, which has a track record of buying stakes in other airlines, didn't move on Aer Lingus again until last year.

In February 2014, it nudged its stake in Aer Lingus up to 3.01pc, buying a small number of shares when the price was about €1.57. But within days it pounced again, this time snapping up 5.87m shares.

At the time, Aer Lingus shares were hovering at around the €1.68 mark. That brought its total holding in Aer Lingus to 21.95m shares, or 4.11pc of the airline.

But Etihad moved again the same week, adding about another 4.21m shares to bring its Aer Lingus stake to 4.9pc.

It didn't have to publicly disclose that purchase as it didn't breach the 5pc ownership mark.

However, Mr Hogan later confirmed that Etihad had acquired the additional shares.

That final purchase, with Aer Lingus shares trading around €1.66 at the time, cost Etihad just under €7m.

It put its total bill for buying its Aer Lingus holding at about €32.5m.

Last year, Etihad said that it had already recouped its investment in Aer Lingus, with the airlines having signed a codeshare agreement and partnered on some other aspects of their businesses. Its Aer Lingus stake will be worth more if IAG raises its last offer.

Irish Independent