Ryanair presented the opportunity to create “one leading, financially strong, Irish-run airline group.”
The offered share price represents a €748 million offer, a premium of approximately 28% over the average closing price for the 30 days ended Nov. 28 and considerably lower than the €2.80 per share that it offered two years ago.
Ryanair guaranteed that Aer Lingus would remain a separately operated company and that both its brand and its slots and connectivity at London Heathrow would remain.
It plans to double Aer Lingus’ short-haul fleet over the next five years to 66 aircraft, creating a additional 1,000 jobs.
It also promised the Aer Lingus chairman, Colm Barrington, a seat on the Ryanair board however, Mr barrington responded that the offer was “the usual stream of invective, spin and misrepresentation that we expect from the people at Ryanair.”
Ryanair currently holds 29.8% of Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus has vowed to remain independent and CEO, Dermot Mannion, said on Sunday that Aer Lingus will respond to the offer document with a ” very positive, affirmative document that will set out an independent strategy for long-term growth on shorthaul and on longhaul in the business”
This will be intersting to watch and is likely to be ultimately decided by the government who hold approx 25% of the airline’s shares. However, Ryanair are keen to also win support of the ESOP, who hold 14%, and have conceded that they will recognise union membership as part of the integration (something they do not do within Ryanair)