Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Ryanair may not make decision for at least two more weeks

Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair might not make a decision for at least two more weeks regarding the sale of its Aer Lingus stake, with chief executive Michael O'Leary understood to be jetting away on holidays after he returns from the United States this week.

Mr O'Leary has been in the United States and Canada speaking to investors in the airline following the release of its full-year financial results on Tuesday.

He's due to return at the end of this week but it's believed he'll be on leave for the following fortnight.

Ryanair still hasn't said what it intends to do with its 29.8pc stake in Aer Lingus and is awaiting the formal receipt of an offer document from IAG.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh yesterday ruled out paying any more to Ryanair and other Aer Lingus shareholders for their stakes in his near €1.4bn takeover plan. "The offer we've made is the limit to which we're prepared to offer," he said.


IAG plans to pay €2.50 in cash for each Aer Lingus share and is also factoring in a five cent per share dividend that will wing its way to shareholders in coming days.

IAG needs Ryanair's support to push through the acquisition.

But Mr Walsh has said he won't be paying more than the €2.55 per share that's now formally on the table.

"I believe that we make a compelling argument for the sale of their shares," he said.

"We believe this is a very positive story."

He added: "I suspect the Ryanair board will give the due consideration that they said they would give to this offer. I expect Ryanair to behave in a rational way.

"Ryanair shareholders will be keen to understand what Ryanair intend to do."

David Holohan, the head of research at Merrion Capital, said that he would expect Ryanair to move "quite quickly" in making a decision.

If Ryanair decides to sell to IAG, it has to seek permission from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority to do so.

That's because the CMA has ordered Ryanair to cut its Aer Lingus stake to no more than 5pc on competition concerns.

Irish Independent

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