Aer Lingus announces September IPO

29-08-2006

The Irish government-owned airline Aer Lingus has confirmed that it plans to list itself on its domestic and London stock exchanges next month.

Aer Lingus says it intends to raise at least Raise €400 million (£270 million) from the partial flotation in order to increase its fleet of 35 aircraft.

The low-cost airline wants to sell more than half of its shares to potential investors, who must have an initial outlay of €10,000, while the state and employees will retain 25.1 per cent and 15 per cent shares respectively.

Share prices will be announced in the run up to the September 29th float, the Irish government today said.

The Irish minister for transport, Martin Cullen, has said he is "delighted" to have reached an "important milestone" in the history of Aer Lingus, which comes amid ongoing security concerns in the global aviation industry following an alleged plot to detonate transatlantic aircraft earlier this month.

But Mr Cullen insisted that "this is the right decision for the company, its employees, customers and Ireland and it is taking place in order to give Aer Lingus both the commercial flexibility and the financial strength to succeed in what is a highly competitive global marketplace".

Meanwhile, John Sharman, the chairman of the airline, said: "The proposed IPO will give the company access to the wider capital markets and enable it to realise its full potential. Aer Lingus and its staff can now look forward to the future with confidence".

Commenting on today's announcement, the transport spokesman for Sinn Fein dubbed the part-flotation a "disgrace".

Sean Crowe accused the government of "selling out" the workers and the Irish taxpayer.

"It is plainly obvious that this floatation of Aer Lingus is a result of the privatisation agenda that the government is so hell-bent on promoting here and across the EU," he claimed.


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