Wednesday 17 January 2018

Value of stock bought by pilots plummets

John Mulligan

The company established in 2006 by Aer Lingus pilots to buy shares in the airline, in an effort to thwart Ryanair's takeover bid, has seen the value of the €25m in stock it bought written down to just €6.6m, according to accounts just filed for the firm.

Tailwind Nominees was hurriedly formed nearly four years ago as Ryanair swooped on Aer Lingus, just over a week after the former state-owned carrier floated on the stock exchange.

As the takeover battle heated up, as many as 500 Aer Lingus pilots and other staff pooled their personal resources to spend millions buying shares in their own company.

Some even remortgaged their homes to do so, while Tailwind borrowed €10m from Bank of Scotland Ireland (BoSI) to amass its holding.

Ryanair's first bid, and a subsequent one made in 2008, failed. Shares in Aer Lingus, which had hit the stock market at €2.20, traded as low as 50c in August last year, but have since recovered to their current level of just over 90c as chief executive Christoph Mueller pushes through a radical cost-overhaul plan at the airline.

The accounts for Tailwind Nominees, which cover the 12 months to end September 2009, show the value of the investment in Aer Lingus fell from €12.5m to just under €6.7m.

The company had an almost €21m shortfall in its equity shareholder funds at the end of the last financial period.

Tailwind's previous set of accounts, for 2008, noted that BoSI held a legal charge over seven million Aer Lingus shares owned by the company.

However, the latest set of accounts makes no mention of the charge, although Tailwind had outstanding loans of €5.2m at the end of last December, down from €7.4m a year earlier. Tailwind also changed its main banker from BoSI to Permanent TSB during the last accounting period.

Irish Independent

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