British Airways owner International Airlines Group £1 billion attempt to take over Aer Lingus is not a “must do” deal, according to chief executive Willie Walsh.
He described the proposed tie-up as being “much bigger issue” for the Irish carrier, which would face reduced risks as part of IAG rather than as a standalone business.
Walsh, reported by The Telegraph as IAG delivered its full year results on Friday, said: “This is not a must do deal, it’s an attractive deal but we will only do it on terms that are acceptable to us.
“We will have no hesitation about not proceeding if the terms are not acceptable.”
His comments came after the Irish government, which has a 25% stake in Aer Lingus, knocked back IAG’s bid for the Irish carrier, saying the assurances given over protecting jobs and routes were not strong enough.
But Walsh said the deal was “not in any way” essential to IAG, adding “our figures show that”.
“We have significant operating profitability and IAG is in a strong position and improving,” he said. “We will only expand where expansion adds value and enhances our performance.”
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