Sunday 17 December 2017

No compelling reason to sell strategic State asset

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus

The fate of Aer Lingus still hangs very much in the balance, with the board of directors supporting the International Airline Group (IAG) bid; the Government still sitting on the fence; and Ryanair continuing its trench warfare with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which has ordered it to sell most of its near 30pc strategic stake in Aer Lingus.

A number of factors are at play which could decide the fate of Aer Lingus in the coming weeks.

If - and it's a very big if - Ryanair was successful in overturning the UK competition watchdog's order for it to dispose of its Aer Lingus stake, it could ostensibly become the kingmaker in the battle for control of Aer Lingus. Financial analysts already believe IAG is offering a fair price to buy Aer Lingus, so Ryanair would be highly unlikely to squeeze anything more from the British Airways owner. Also, it's the only opportunity Ryanair is going to realistically have in coming years to recoup the €400m spent accumulating its Aer Lingus shares.

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