Abu Dhabi’s Etihad is interested in holding talks with the Irish government over the sale of its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus, the Middle East airline’s chief executive James Hogan told the Irish Independent newspaper.
The Irish government last year said it was considering selling its stake in the airline as part of a privatisation drive required under its European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout.
“When the government is ready to sit down, we’re happy to sit down and talk to them,” Hogan told the newspaper. Executives at Etihad “have looked” at Aer Lingus, but no discussions have taken place about a possible offer, he said.
The stake is valued at about EUR€118 million (USD$157 million) based on the Irish carrier’s current market capitalisation of EUR€471 million.
Middle East carriers such as Etihad, Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates have been aggressively expanding route networks. Etihad in December announced the purchase of a stake of almost 30 percent in Germany’s Air Berlin.