Aer Lingus discusses Ryanair bid with Ireland's Minister for Transport
Aer Lingus Group reports that its chairman, Colm Barrington, and chief executive, Dermot Mannion, met on Thursday 11 December with the Irish Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD, to discuss Ryanair’s announced intention to make an unsolicited offer to shareholders. The pair made it clear to the Minister that the airline's board unanimously rejects the offer which they say significantly undervalues Aer Lingus and would see Ryanair establish a monopoly on air travel/connectivity to and from Ireland.
Barrington and Mannion argued that there are "significant shortcomings in Ryanair’s proposals and that these will be detailed in an Aer Lingus response circular to shareholders in due course". The Minister was briefed on the new agreements recently concluded with members of SIPTU and Impact, the two largest unions in Aer Lingus, which "fundamentally change Aer Lingus’s staff cost and productivity going forward".
In addition, the executives emphasised Aer Lingus’s strong financial condition which will enable the Group to continue to provide strong, sustainable and vigorous competition in the best interests of consumers who fly into and out of Ireland.
Following the meeting, Mannion commented, "We had a productive meeting with the Minister today and have committed to give the Government, as well as all other shareholders, a comprehensive rebuttal of Ryanair’s offer after the publication of its Offer Document.
Ryanair cannot spin away the fact that Aer Lingus is and will continue to be its fiercest competitor into and out of Ireland. It is offering other Aer Lingus shareholders a mere €525 million, a pathetic sum in the context of the €1.3 billion in cash on the Group’s balance sheet, the substantial value of our fleet and the value of the Heathrow slots. Aer Lingus remains a strong business with significant cash reserves and a robust long-term future. Despite all of Ryanair’s insincere promises, this offer, if accepted, would be bad for Irish consumers, for Aer Lingus’ shareholders and for everyone who works in the airline.”