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p19 pink dec5 2/12/08 16:07 Page 19
city & finance news
Ryanair says bid
for Lingus ‘timely’
RYANAIR has claimed its new offer to buy Aer
Lingus should find favour with the European
Commission because of changes in the aviation
industry since its previous bid was rejected.
The no-frills airline has made a a64748m offer
to buy the Irish flag-carrier, 18 months after the
commission threw out its a641.5bn offer.
The commission then said a combined Ryanair/
From left: Aer Lingus group would control 80% of the
Stuart Kay, traffic at Dublin airport and harm competition.
Ross Faith, Daniel But Ryanair argued that mergers that had
Martin and Clive already taken place, as well as those being
Dormer, with a planned, such as BA with Iberia, meant the
Pontin’s dancer landscape had changed.
The no-frills carrier said a merger would
benefit competition because a combined airline
Pontin’s Xmas bookings up 11%
would be able to compete with Air France-KLM,
British Airways, and Lufthansa, which has taken
over BMI and is bidding for Austrian Airlines.
FESTIVE bookings at Pontin’s are 11% up on The Pontin’s management team has been Ryanair said Aer Lingus’s future would be in
2007, while business for next summer is 20% bolstered by the appointments of Ross Faith, doubt without a merger, and that a tie-up would
ahead of this time last year. Stuart Kay and Clive Dormer, as finance director create a strong Irish airline group that would
The performance of the UK park operator, and company secretary, head of compliance and operate two independent carriers.
which was bought by investment company Ocean operations director respectively. Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Aer
Parcs in March for £46m, is being interpreted as All are former colleagues of chief executive Lingus, as a small, standalone, regional airline,
a sign of consumers shunning foreign holidays. Ian Smith at clothing retailer Matalan. has been marginalised and bypassed as most
Chairman Graham Parr said: “We have focused The operator has also promoted digital other EU flag-carriers consolidate.”
our efforts and strengths on the Pontin’s core marketing manager Daniel Martin to marketing Aer Lingus’s share price rose 16% on Monday
business and the results speak for themselves.” manager. morning when Ryanair’s bid was announced.
Ryanair already owns 30% of Aer Lingus.
Holidaybreak bullish
■ Ryanair cancels Newquay flights, p32
despite 19% profits fall
Emirates denies
Rupert Murray.
“Our camping business will benefit from
HOLIDAYBREAK chief executive Carl Michel has people downgrading their holidays to save some DUBAI-based Emirates has denied speculation
claimed he is optimistic about 2009, despite a money, as it is a relatively inexpensive option. that it is in talks about a merger with Abu Dhabi
19% fall in pre-tax profits to £32.4m. “Adventure holidays are unlikely to suffer. It is carrier Etihad.
Group revenue for the year ending September hotel breaks that are hardest to predict.” The Abu Dhabi government has reportedly de-
30 rose 27.2% to £455.1m. Superbreak sales have slowed since May and manded control of Emirates in return for a multi-
But with operating costs increasing by 32.4% the division is down about 15% for 2008-09. billion pound investment in Dubai, whose property
to £419.1m, operating profits fell 12.8% to £36m. But Michel said hotels were starting to introduce market has been hit by the credit crunch.
Michel said: “It is a tough environment, but great deals, which should encourage bookings. Dubai has scarce oil reserves compared with
the four sectors of our business are more re- “It is important to remember that XL has gone Abu Dhabi, leaving its tourism, property and fi-
silient to recession than many other companies. and the big two have reduced supply, so there nance sectors more vulnerable to the downturn.
“Forward bookings for education trips are at will be people looking for trips that they won’t But Emirates insisted that no talks were
78% for next year, up from 70%. The nature of be able to offer,” he added. taking place about selling a stake to Abu Dhabi,
this type of holiday is that it is a far less discre- “Long-term players with a diverse business the UAE federal government or another airline.
tionary spend and the bookings come in early. such as ourselves will survive this downturn.” Etihad confirmed that no talks were taking place.
05.12.2008 19
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