Ryanair has upped its stake in rival Irish airline Aer Lingus to almost 30 per cent. Europe’s biggest low-cost airline bought an additional 3.5 million shares, bringing its total holding to more than 159 million.
The budget airline refused to disclose the terms of the deal.
The Irish Times has reported that Irish property developer Liam Carroll is thought to have sold more than 31 million shares in Aer Lingus for €1.15 each at a €20 million loss. The sale has been described as a fire sale by stockbrokers as the shares were bought earlier this year at close to €2.
The economic downturn has caused a number of property developers in Ireland to be put under pressure recently by banks to cash in assets and reduce their debts.
It is not known whether the global credit crunch prompted Carroll’s decision to sell his Aer Lingus shareholding at a loss.