Irish government unwilling to back Ryanair’s Aer Lingus bid

The government of Ireland has expressed its unwillingness to support a bid by Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, to acquire its rival Irish airline, Aer Lingus.

Ryanair, which owns a 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus, has previously offered EUR694 million for the remaining Aer Lingus stock. The Aer Lingus’ board subsequently rejected this on the basis of it being an insufficient offer. The airline is now willing to offer around 40 routes from major airports in Ireland to other airlines in return for the acquisition, as part of a comprehensive remedies package. The European Commission will take the final decision.

The Irish government, which owns a 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus, has announced its decision to oppose the takeover bid by Ryanair.

A statement by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Ireland, said, ‘Earlier today, the Cabinet considered the sale of the State’s 25 percent shareholding in Aer Lingus.

The Government remains committed to the sale of the stake in Aer Lingus at the right time under the right conditions.

However, the Government is not prepared to support any offer that would significantly undermine connectivity or competitiveness for Ireland.

Based on what is now in the public domain, the Ryanair remedies package does not satisfy our concerns about connectivity, competitiveness or employment for Ireland.

Obviously, the European Commission will make its own decision in its own time, but we do not see any benefit to Ireland in what has been reported.’

Earlier Ryanair said, in its own statement, ‘This comprehensive remedies package includes a number of new airline bases in Dublin, new entrant competitors on over 40 routes to/from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as specific competition solutions that guarantee increased price competition on routes to and from Ireland.

Ryanair expects that the commission will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the commission.’