Ryanair offers to sell shares in Aer Lingus

Marion Dakers
RYANAIR has offered to sell its stake in Aer Lingus in an effort to prove that owning shares in its Irish rival does not stifle competition.

The budget carrier also attacked the UK Competition Commission for its “unfounded and invented” probe into Ryanair’s 29 per cent stake in Aer Lingus.

As part of its discussions with the watchdog, Ryanair yesterday set out an unconditional pledge to sell out to any other EU airline prepared to make a takeover offer for Aer Lingus.

The Competition Commission said in May that it might force Ryanair to sell down its holding after declaring that the firm has “the ability to influence the commercial policy and strategy of Aer Lingus”.

Ryanair has made three unsuccessful bids for Aer Lingus since building up its stake in 2006.

“This announcement by Ryanair does not change the game in our view and will not lead to an immediate sale unless there is a takeover offer forthcoming. Rather, it gives Ryanair a hook with which to appeal any negative decision by the UK CC,” said analysts at Goodbody.