Ryanair is to accept British Airways parent International Airlines Group’s offer for its 29.8% shareholding in rival Aer Lingus.
The Irish low fares airline’s stake in Aer Lingus has been available for sale since May 2012.
The airline said it believes that the IAG offer “maximises Ryanair shareholder value”.
IAG’s €1.3 billion bid for Aer Lingus has been conditional on winning agreement from Ryanair after the Irish government gave the green light for the disposal of its 25% stake.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We believe the IAG offer for Aer Lingus is a reasonable one in the current market and we plan to accept it, in the best interests of Ryanair shareholders.
“The price means that Ryanair will make a small profit on its investment in Aer Lingus over the past 9 years.
“This sale of our stake is timely given that our original strategy for Aer Lingus – to use it as a mid-priced brand to offer competition to flag carriers at primary airports – has been overtaken by the successful rollout of Ryanair’s ‘Always Getting Better’ strategy, which has seen the Ryanair brand successfully enter many of Europe’s primary airports, being rewarded with strong growth in our network, traffic, load factor and profitability, while keeping our fares low and our punctuality high.”
He added: “We wish IAG well with their takeover of Aer Lingus. When Ryanair first bid for Aer Lingus in late 2006, Ryanair (36 million passengers) carried four times Aer Lingus traffic (9 million).
“Today Ryanair (over 100 million) carries more than 10 times Aer Lingus traffic (10 million), and we will continue to deliver the vast majority of Ireland’s traffic and tourism growth in the coming months and years.”
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