Mar 06 2012
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Etihad eyes stake in Irish airline
Tuesday, Mar 06, 2012
Dubai A compromise deal between the Irish government and Aer Lingus over the airline’s pension deficit is in the works, opening the door to a possible takeover of Dublin’s 25.1 per cent stake by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad , Gulf News has learnt.
In an interview yesterday with Bloomberg, Etihad CEO James Hogan confirmed his airline is still interested in purchasing Dublin’s stake, currently worth approximately €130 million (Dh629.7 million).
“All I’ve said is that if they were to open their books then we’d have a look at it,” he said, adding that the Dublin Airport-based company has a “pension issue” that would have to be evaluated.
That pension issue revolves around a deficit of €300 million which the Dublin government is looking to underwrite through a special bond issue in Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency.
That bond issue would clear the way for the Etihad purchase of Dublin’s 25.1 per cent stake in the legacy carrier.
Last week, Aer Lingus reported a profit of €84.4 million, a showing that boosted its share price to the point where Dublin feels a sale would be worth while.
By Mick O’Reilly ?Senior Associate Editor
© Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.
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