O’Leary dismisses third bid talk but still sees Aer Lingus rescue role

Irish carrier Ryanar has reiterated it is highly unlikely to make a third bid for Aer Lingus, saying there is no substance to a report which suggested it could take control of Aer Lingus through a rights issue in around 18 months time.

 ”Our position on Aer Lingus was recently confirmed at the Ryanair AGM, which is that we are ‘highly unlikely’ to make a third offer,” O’Leary said, in a short statement issued to the stock market.

Ryanair, which already holds a near 30% stake in Aer Lingus, has twice failed with takeover offers for Aer Lingus amid opposition from the Irish Government and unions. O’Leary has since maintained a third bid is unlikely. But he does suggest the carrier will ultimately be called upon sometime in the next 18 months by the Irish Government if Aer Lingus keeps losing money.

“The Irish Government will need someone to rescue it [Aer Lingus] and I predict we are probably the only people there who have either the desire or the plan to rescue Aer Lingus,” he said during a recent press conference in London. “We could turnaround Aer Lingus and make it profitable.”

New Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller, who took charge of the loss-making carrier at the start of September, is embarking on new efforts to turn round the airline’s forturnes. He has warned unions of the need for more drastic action than just “cosmetic surgery” and is expected to announce new cost-cutting measures shortly.

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