Friday 24 November 2017

Former FF minister O'Keeffe is quids in as O'Leary's play lifts Aer Lingus

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

FORMER Fianna Fail Minister Ned O'Keeffe, members of the Smurfit dynasty, and one of Bertie Ahern's closest associates, Chris Wall, all saw their shares in Aer Lingus rise in value after Ryanair's €694m bid for the airline last week.

The company share register shows that O'Keeffe, who was recently arrested on suspicion of using a false invoice claim for mobile phone expenses while he was a member of the Dail, holds 5,011 shares worth €6,500, based on Ryanair's €1.30 per share offer. He's held the shares since October 2006. Other shareholders include Anne Smurfit, the family of aviation tycoon Domhnall Slattery and former Smurfit Stone boss Ray Curran -- who owns 23,863 shares worth over €31,000. Iconic butcher FX Buckley also has 10,000 shares worth €13,000, based on the Ryanair offer price.

Former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh -- now heading up the vastly bigger British Airways parent IAG Group -- holds shares worth around €13,800, while another former Aer Lingus chief, Dermot Mannion, has 19,444 shares valued at nearly €25,300. Shares remain well down on the 2006 flotation price of €2.20.

Former shareholders in the company have also included Spar magnate John Clohisey, Sherry FitzGerald boss Mark FitzGerald with the auctioneers' former chairman Donal Chambers, Bord na Mona boss Gabriel D'Arcy and enterpreneur Keith Lowe.

Aer Lingus shares rose sharply on news of the Ryanair bid last week. However, the shares traded at below the Ryanair offer price of €1.30, which indicates that the markets don't give the bid much chance of succeeding.

Government ministers, from Leo Varadkar to Ruairi Quinn, have fallen over themselves trying to pour cold water on Ryanair's approach.

Sunday Indo Business

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