Promises favour government, says Irish Takeover Panel
Ryanair has received more set backs in its €748m Aer Lingus takeover bid.
The Irish Takeover Panel has ruled that guarantees made in the offer favour one shareholder, the Irish government.
The body set up to regulate Irish takeovers said promises to recognise unions and restore Shannon-Heathrow services should be dropped unless made clearer.
Ryanair said its guarantees to give the state full control of Aer Lingus' Heathrow slots and cut fuel surcharges and fares were made to reassure all stakeholders, not just the Irish government.
Despite "strongly" disagreeing with the ruling, the airline said it would go ahead with the offer in a "form consistent with the constraints imposed by the Irish Takeover Panel."
Colm Barrington, Aer LIngus' chairman, is reported to have said he would seek a "friendly investor" to acquire a majority stake in the troubled carrier.
But Mr Barrington has not yet identified a likely partner and has not ruled out a private equity group.
The issuing of new Aer Lingus shares in an attempt to dilute the 29% stake Ryanair already owns was not ruled out either, according to reports.
Ryanair's €1.40 per share all-cash offer is just half the offer made in 2006.
The Irish LCC appealed directly to the Irish government and employees, who own 25% and 14% stakes respectively, after the Board of Aer Lingus strongly rejected the offer.
Unions also rejected the offer and its assurances of recognition, since Ryanair itself does not recognise unions, and a promise to create 1,000 new jobs.
Instead the unions approved a deal to cut jobs at Aer Lingus, allowing the airline to make savings and reposition itself financially next year.