January 27, 2015
Latest IAG offer recommended by Board of Aer Lingus
The board of Aer Lingus has recommended acceptance of an increased €1.36bn (US$1.5bn) takeover offer from IAG, who are now left with the problem of allaying any concerns the Irish Government may have in order to gain their approval. “IAG recognises the importance of direct air services and air route connectivity for investment and tourism in Ireland and intends to engage with the Irish government in order to secure its support for the transaction,” IAG made clear in a statement. Merrion Stockbrokers’ David Holohan made it clear that the assurances offered by IAG should lay to rest many of the government’s concerns.
“IAG has outlined plans for Aer Lingus which we believe are logical, attractive and will likely alleviate the concerns of the Irish government. Our view is that this news paves the way for the Irish government to support the deal,” said Holohan.
The revised offer from the owner of British Airways, IAG, is its third in six weeks and is worth €2.55 per share, up from a previous €2.40. This offer also includes a cash offer of €2.50 per share and a cash dividend of €0.05 per share. Aer Lingus have made it clear that its recommendation is subject to being satisfied with how IAG intends to address the interests of certain relevant parties, including its main shareholders Ryanair, and the Irish state. The Irish government had intended to sell its 25% interest as part of the 2010 bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, but they subsequently postponed the proposition. However the government is now facing increased pressure from the two main political opposition parties, as well as the airline’s trade unions, not to sell.
IAG have made it clear it intends to operate Aer Lingus as a separate business with its own brand, management and operations. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe will brief the cabinet on the offer on Tuesday, stating that they will look at how a merger would affect Aer Lingus’ workers and competition for air routes out of country. IMPACT, Aer Lingus’ main trade union, has intimated that a takeover could see the loss of up to 1,200 jobs, which is a quarter of the carrier’s workforce.
A successful takeover would provide IAG with more take-off and landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport, British Airways home base and major European hub for international flights.