Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has warned that the government will not be “shoved into a fire sale” of its 25 percent share of Aer Lingus, after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary made a bid to buy Ireland’s national airline.
“If and when that decision is made, it will be in the best interests of the people and the country in respect of all of those issues,” Kenny said.
“While the director of Ryanair is a person who has made very important moves in the past, in the sense of bringing real competition and access to and from this country for hundreds of millions of passengers, the fact is that the Government has a 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus and there are other players in the field.”
“It is, however, a minority share the Government has and we do not have any veto over this,” he added. “We have no blocking rights.”
According to the Irish Times, Kenny said the government had not collectively considered the bid.
In 2007, the European Commission concluded that a takeover by the low budget airline would be harmful to competition and would create a problem in the 35 routes operated by both airlines.
Independent TD Shane Ross called on the Prime Minister to definitively say he would not allow a monopoly in airlines in Ireland.
Aer Lingus has released a statement claiming that Ryanair has undervalued the company in their bid to take over the airline.
Ryanair had offered €1.30 per share, slightly less than the €1.40 per share offered in a 2008 takeover bid.
The statement advised shareholders to take no action regarding the offer, RTE reports.
It said: "Aer Lingus has a proven business model and a strong balance sheet including cash of in excess of €1 billion at 31 March 2012, leaving it well positioned for the future."