Aer Arann seeks full examiner

AER Arann is unlikely to face opposition when it applies to the High Court today for the appointment of a full examiner.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton has already been given the task as interim examiner of overseeing the company’s restructuring and evaluating the potential investors.

This work is likely to continue for the next few months providing the High Court approves the appointment of a fullexaminer.

Sources said the company is hopeful of no opposition and it is believed to have received support from its creditors as it continues with the examinership process.

It is understood that around seven expressions of interest have been received from potential buyers for Aer Arann. The process of selling the company is likely to accelerate once the court appoints a full examiner.

Meanwhile, passenger numbers at Aer Lingus fell 7% last month but the airline still managed to carry more than one million people. Due to a cutback in capacity, the number of long-haul passengers fell almost 15%, to 99,000, while short haul traffic fell by 6.2% to 913,000 passengers.

Aer Lingus has cut capacity by 27.3% on long-haul flights and this helped bring about a 10.2% increase in load factors, a measure of seats filled to 89.9%.

NCB stockbrokers said even though this year’s higher long-haul load factors are partly attributable to Aer Lingus reducing capacity, they also reflect a stronger trading environment.

“Management guided in July that yield performance and load factors were exceeding their expectations and should continue for at least the third quarter.”

Earlier this week Ryanair reported a 12% year-on-year increase in August passengers and a load factor of 89% against 90% a year earlier.

Davy stockbrokers said Ryanair has the best management team in the industry and is the “undoubted cost leader”.

“It has slowed down its growth from 5% to 20% per annum to closer to 5% to 10% per annum for the next three years. We do not expect new orders with Boeing, or indeed Airbus, and any new deal will be completed only if pricing and delivery terms offer superior shareholder returns over the medium term,” the stockbrokers said.

The analysts also said slowing capital expenditure will generate substantial free cash reserves and Ryanair will return €500m to shareholders in a one-off dividend on October 1. “In addition, we believe portfolio management of Ryanair’s 43 bases and network/base development in the downturn should see unit revenue and returns rise over the coming years,” they said.


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