Aviation

Ryanair says open to offer for Aer Lingus

AFP

Ryanair says it will consider any offer for its stake in Aer Lingus, which is currently being pursued for a takeover by British Airways owner IAG.

London-listed International Airlines Group is drumming up support for its 1.35 billion euros ($A1.93 billion) bid for Aer Lingus but needs the support of Ryanair, which holds almost 30 per cent of the former Irish national carrier.

IAG is also looking to convince the Irish government to sell its 25.1 per cent stake, with Dublin stating it needs further commitments on connectivity and employment.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the group had not been approached directly by IAG about selling its stake – but indicated it was open to an offer.

“We’ve always said the stake is for sale. What would comprise an offer that’s acceptable to the board of Ryanair, I can’t comment on,” O’Leary told reporters at a press conference in London.

“Our position is: our stake is available for sale, if someone comes up with the right offer that the board considers to be acceptable.”

Back in January, the Aer Lingus board said it was “willing to recommend” a takeover approach worth 2.55 euros per share – subject to certain conditions.

O’Leary added on Tuesday that Ryanair would also be seeking assurances over IAG’s future plans for Aer Lingus – particularly on the issue of competition.

Ryanair had previously made three separate bids for Irish rival Aer Lingus, all of which failed on competition grounds.

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