Saturday 24 March 2018

Ryanair insists UK watchdog decision forcing it to sell most of Aer Lingus stake unrelated to IAG takeover approach

Ryanair: fighting decision of competition authority
Ryanair: fighting decision of competition authority
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair has insisted its efforts to force a reversal of a UK watchdog decision to force the airline to sell most of its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus remains unrelated to IAG’s €1.36bn takeover approach for the former state-owned carrier.

But Ryanair’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said that it’s not true that the airline is intent on reversing that decision to the exclusion of considering any formal offer that may emerge from IAG.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has told Ryanair that it must sell all but 5pc at most of its shares in Aer Lingus. Ryanair is fighting that decision. Ryanair has labelled that decision as “manifestly wrong”.

“The CMA decision… is somewhat unrelated to what’s going on with IAG and the Government this morning, and IAG has yet to make an offer for our stake,” said Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs as the airline released record full-year results today.

“Those two pieces are unrelated. It doesn’t change our opposition. We still have to receive an offer from IAG. Once that happens, the board will consider it and make a decision.”

Ryanair said that its profits in the 12 months to the end of March rose 66pc to €867m, with the airline crediting its expansion and efforts to improve the customer experience as the reasons for the sharp increase.

Ryanair has still refused to say whether or not it will back a sale of Aer Lingus to IAG.

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