The Board of Ryanair Holdings PLC today (10 July) confirmed that it has voted unanimously to accept the IAG offer for Ryanair’s 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus Group plc. Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus has been available for sale since May 2012 (see attached) and the Board believes that the current IAG offer maximises Ryanair shareholder value.
In line with this decision, Ryanair will now vote in favour of the motion at the Aer Lingus EGM on the 16 July next (to give the Irish Government a golden share over Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots) and Ryanair will also vote its 29.8% shareholding in favour of acceptance of the IAG offer, subject to this offer receiving regulatory approval from the European competition authorities.
Ryanair’s 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 -since Sept 2013- 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.
We wish IAG well with their takeover of Aer Lingus. When Ryanair first bid for Aer Lingus in late 2006, Ryanair (36m passengers) carried 4 times Aer Lingus traffic (9m). Today Ryanair (over 100m) carries more than 10 times Aer Lingus traffic (10m), and we will continue to deliver the vast majority of Ireland’s traffic and tourism growth in the coming months and years.”