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Ryanair still optimistic on Aer Lingus bid

The airline said its bid involves two upfront buyers, each basing aircraft in Ireland.

Image: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

RYANAIR IS STILL optimistic that European competition authorities will allow its proposed takeover of rival airline Aer Lingus later this year.

In an update, issued along with a profit report this morning, the firm said its “radical and unprecedented remedies package” to the EU involves two upfront buyers, each basing aircraft in Ireland to takeover and operate a substantial part of Aer Lingus’s existing route network and short-haul business.

“We believe these remedies address every current Ryanair/Aer Lingus crossover route and all other competition issues raised by the Commission in its Statement of Objections,” said CEO Michael O’Leary.

“This will be the first EU airline merger which will deliver structural divestitures and multiple upfront buyers,” he continued. “We look forward to completing our offer for Aer Lingus subject to receiving approval from the EU competition authorities in early March.”

July’s €694 million offer is Ryanair’s third attempt to take a majority shareholding in Aer Lingus. Currently, it holds a 29.82 per cent stake of the issued shared capital. The budget airline failed in its two previous bids and Aer Lingus has urged shareholders to reject the offer.

The government has indicated that it will not sell the State’s 25 per cent shareholding to O’Leary’s Ryanair. Transport Minister Leo Varadkar advised late last year that the coalition would not support any move that would “significantly undermine connectivity or competitiveness for Ireland”.

Read: Government rules out sale of Aer Lingus stake to Ryanair

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