15 December, 2008: The Aer Lingus board has unanimously rejected a fresh takeover bid from budget rival Ryanair.
The Irish flag carrier said the offer “significantly undervalues” Aer Lingus and would see Ryanair establish a monopoly on air travel and connectivity to and from Ireland.
Chairman Colm Barrington and chief executive Dermot Mannion met Irish transport minister Noel Dempsey to outline their opposition to the hostile offer.
Aer Lingus described the Ryanair offer as an effort to “eliminate competition in the Irish market place, which would be a disaster for the government and is unacceptable to both consumers and to the EU Commission”.
Following the meeting, Mannion said: "We had a productive meeting with the Minister and have committed to give the government, as well as all other shareholders, a comprehensive rebuttal of Ryanair´s offer after the publication of its offer document."
He added: "Ryanair cannot spin away the fact that Aer Lingus is and will continue to be its fiercest competitor into and out of Ireland.
“It is offering other Aer Lingus shareholders a mere €525 million, a pathetic sum in the context of the €1.3 billion in cash on the group´s balance sheet, the substantial value of our fleet and the value of the Heathrow slots.
“Aer Lingus remains a strong business with significant cash reserves and a robust long-term future.
“Despite all of Ryanair´s insincere promises, this offer, if accepted, would be bad for Irish consumers, for Aer Lingus´ shareholders and for everyone who works in the airline."