09:28 31 May 2013
The UK Competition Commission said that Ryanair’s 29.8per cent stake at Aer Lingus may not serve consumers’ best interest. The commission’s latest finding, which was published on Thursday, said that the stake should be reduced in order to keep the competition on key routes between UK and Ireland healthy.
The commission is now studying if it will force Ryanair to reduce its stake to as little as 3per cent or force it to sell its entire holding.
Simon Polito, deputy chairman of the Competition Commission, said: “Whilst not giving it control over the day-to-day running of its rival, Ryanair’s minority shareholding can influence the major strategic decisions that could be crucial to Aer Lingus’s future as a competitive airline on these and other routes.”
Meanwhile, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, said that the decision is both “bizarre and wrong.” He added that the case is “an enormous waste of UK taxpayer resources.”
“UK taxpayer interests would be better served if the UK Competition Commission investigated (rather than ignored) BA’s [British Airways’] recent takeovers of BMI, Iberia and Vueling, instead of wasting time pursuing this Irish case, which is of no consequence to UK consumers.”
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