Etihad won't sell Aer Lingus stake, backs Irish management
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Abu Dhabi-owned Etihad Airways is not willing to sell its 2.99 percent stake in Irish carrier Aer Lingus, the Financial Times reported, citing the UAE operator's chief executive officer James Hogan.
"We are not selling," Hogan told the FT, adding that Etihad, the Middle East's third-largest carrier, will back Aer Lingus’s current management and its strategy.
Dublin-based Aer Lingus is subject to a takeover bid by Ryanair, which has offered €1.30 per share, valuing the carrier’s equity at €694m. The Irish operator has said Ryanair's offer undervalues the company.
In December, Etihad bought a 29 percent stake in Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest airline and has minority equity stakes of 4.99 percent in Virgin Australia that it has said it aims to build up to 10 percent, and 40 percent in Air Seychelles.
Etihad is holding talks with Air France-KLM about a potential code-sharing agreement, Hogan told the FT, adding the carrier wasn't in discussions over an equity investment.
The Gulf carrier reported a 31 percent increase in second quarter revenue which climbed to $1.25bn from the same period last year.