Statement by Minister Donohoe following Cabinet briefing on IAG approaches to Aer Lingus

27th January, 2015

This morning I briefed my Cabinet colleagues on the approaches that have been made to the Board of Aer Lingus by International Airlines Group (IAG) – each of which is in the public domain.

The Government notes the statement by the Board of Aer Lingus this morning that it has indicated to IAG that the financial terms of the latest proposal are at a level which it would be willing to recommend, subject to being satisfied with the manner in which IAG proposes to address the interests of relevant parties.

The process involving a potential sale of Aer Lingus to IAG is in the early stages. It is important to note that IAG has made a proposal to make an offer and that no formal offer has yet been made.

At this point I want to again emphasise that proposals which involve the potential sale of the State’s Aer Lingus shares will be given very careful examination before the Government takes any decision on the issue. There are important considerations to be taken into account in addition to price and I have referred before to competition, connectivity and jobs as among those criteria. We will engage with IAG on these issues in the coming days.

A Group chaired by my Department and comprising representatives from the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and NewERA, and supported by external advisers, is currently examining the issues around a potential offer for the State’s shareholding in the company.  They will report back to me shortly on these key issues and the matter will then be considered by the Government before any final decision is taken.

Aer Lingus is in an ‘offer period’ under Irish Takeover Rules and therefore the rules regarding communications by all parties (including shareholders) in such a period apply.  Therefore, there are restrictions on what I or my Government colleagues can say at this point.