International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) share price: CEO dismisses Aer Lingus bid warnings
International Consolidated Airlines Group’s (LON:IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh has dismissed comments by billionaire Donald Trump and Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson, with both of them having weighed in on the blue-chip group’s potential tie-up with Aer Lingus (LON:ARL). IAG’s share price has eased in early morning trading, having shed 0.58 percent to 599.50p as of 08:04 BST, slightly underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
The Irish Independent yesterday quoted Walsh as saying that he’d be “more interested by the interventions of those in Ireland who understand the issue”. His comment followed Donald Trump’s letter to Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny where Trump said that Aer Lingus gave “strategic advantages” to Ireland and “should not be given away to the highest bidder”. Branson’s Virgin Atlantic separately voiced its concerns in a letter to Ireland’s Parliamentary Transport Committee, saying that the potential sale of Aer Lingus to IAG could have an adverse effect on airline tickets prices, quality of service and connectivity. The British Airways and Iberia owner is currently trying to convince Dublin to sell its 25.1-percent stake in the Irish carrier.
Trump has “got a little golf course down in Doonbeg, which is very close to Shannon Airport,” Walsh told reporters in Dublin yesterday, as quoted by Bloomberg. The Irish Independent reported that he had also downplayed Virgin Atlantic’s intervention, saying that it would be very interesting for Virgin to appear before the Parliamentary Transport Committee to explain their interests in the Irish market.
Walsh, however, recognised that the uncertainty around the potential sale might be distracting for Aer Lingus management. His comments come after Ireland’s transport minister Pascal Donohoe this week said that he thought discussions with IAG should conclude in the coming weeks.
As of 08:18 BST, Wednesday, 01 April, International Consolidated Airlines Grp share price is 604.25p.