Ryanair welcomes EU Court ruling that it can retain its 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus

Wednesday 7, July 2010


Ryanair welcomes EU Court ruling that it can retain its 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus


Ryanair welcomed the EU Court’s confirmation of the European Commission’s 2007 decision that it can not force Ryanair to sell its shareholding in Aer Lingus.



Ryanair also noted the Court’s decision to reject Ryanair’s appeal of the EU Commission’s decision to block Ryanair’s 2006 offer for Aer Lingus. Ryanair is currently studying the details of this 125 page judgment.


The EU Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said on 27 June 2007 that “Since Ryanair is not in a position to exert de jure or de facto control over Aer Lingus, the European Commission is not in a position to require Ryanair to divest its minority shareholding, which is, by the way, not a controlling stake.”


Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:


“We welcome today’s ruling of the EU General Court which confirms that Ryanair can not be forced to dispose of its 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus. This is the third time since 2007 that Aer Lingus has lost appeals on this issue.


We note the Court’s decision on our appeal against the EU Commission’s ruling on our 2006 offer for Aer Lingus. This will not prevent Ryanair making a future offer for Aer Lingus, but obviously any such offer will have to take account of the court’s detailed ruling. Ryanair has no immediate plans to make a third offer for Aer Lingus, which in any event would be unlikely to succeed unless the Irish Govt decides to sell its 25% stake. 


Ryanair regrets however, that since the rejection of our two previous offers for Aer Lingus, both of which contained guarantees on growing Aer Lingus’ traffic, fleet, jobs and profitability Aer Lingus has become a small peripheral regional airline with declining traffic, fleet, jobs and is reporting substantial losses.


We continue to believe that the long term financial viability of Aer Lingus can only be secured as part of one strong Irish airline group, particularly when the rest of Europe’s airlines are consolidating to three main flag carriers, lead by Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa and two large low fares carriers, Ryanair and easyjet. Unless Aer Lingus finds a strong airline partner then we believe it is doomed to fail because it can’t compete with Ryanair’s low fares, customer service or scale.”




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