Etihad Airways interested in buying stake in Aer Lingus
Etihad Airways would consider buying the Irish government's 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus but so far has not been approached with an offer, reports Reuters.
Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan said: “If the Irish government approached us to look at the stake, then we would do so. But they have still not approached us,"
Hogan declined to comment on Ryanair's bid to take over Aer Lingus, or on whether Etihad would sell its current 3 percent stake in Aer Lingus.
Analyst Saj Ahmad commented: "Its seems more likely than not that Etihad will build on its existing 3% stake in Aer Lingus, although whether the Irish Government is happy to offload its 25% share in one go or piecemeal remains unclear at this point.
“Aer Lingus provides very attractive options for connecting not just to Europe and Scandinavia, the lucrative connections to the US East Coast will of course be why Etihad wants to increase its stake, particularly as it combines its strategy of dual growth via organic and inorganic partnerships.”
Ahmad added: “It's equally interesting that James Hogan has quickly brushed off intentions of joining the Skyteam Alliance, especially since they recently signed a wide-ranging pact with Air France. That said, you can argue its relationship with Air Berlin would make them look at that alliance, despite the recent signing up of Qatar Airways. There's plenty of room to join - but much will depend whether the "need" to join an alliance brings about opportunities to invest and it's clear that Etihad is not afraid to invest in other carriers."