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UK Competition Commission releases draft ruling on Ryanair's 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus

31-May-2013 9:09 AM

UK Competition Commission released (30-May-2013) its provisional Decision on Ryanair's 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus, stating it gives Ryanair the ability to influence the airline's commercial policy and strategy. The Commission also found Ryanair's shareholding "obstructs Aer Lingus' ability to merger or combine with another airline" and allows it to block the airline's special resolutions and hinder its plans to issue shares and raise capital. Ryanair's shareholding could also prevent Aer Lingus from disposing of its London Heathrow Airport slots. The Commission published a notice of possible remedies which seeks vies on how much of its shareholding Ryanair should be requred to sell. Ryanair critcised the Commission's provisional decision, stating the "unfounded claim" was disproved by the European Commission's Feb-2013 ruling that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus "intensified" since 2007. Ryanair said if the decision is maintained in the Commission's final decision, it will appeal the decision to the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal and, if necessary, to the UK Court of Appeal. Aer Lingus Group welcomed the announcement and said it "looks forward to continuing to assist the UK Competition Commission in its investigation into the anti-competitive effects of Ryanair’s minority shareholding". The Commission is expected to issue its final report by 11-Jul-2013. [more - original PR - UK Competition Commission] [more - original PR - Ryanair] [more - original PR - Aer Lingus]