Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed the decision by the board of Aer Lingus to pay a dividend for the first time since privatisation.
“This is the first time that Aer Lingus has paid a dividend since it was privatised. I asked the company's board to pay a dividend of 30% of profits, on the same basis that I have asked every semi-State company under my remit to pay a dividend.
“When I came into office, Dublin Port Company was the only company under my Department to pay a dividend. Since then, it has been joined by the Port of Cork and now Aer Lingus. I have also asked the Irish Aviation Authority to do likewise.
“I note that some shareholders suggested that the Aer Lingus cash reserves should have been used to facilitate a higher dividend. While I can see the attractions of this approach, it is not one that I support as it would weaken and devalue the State’s shareholding which we intend to sell.
“Aer Lingus has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent times from a loss-making company which used to cost the Exchequer money, to one which is now profitable, which weathered a very tough recession, re-emerging as the number one carrier of passengers into and out of Ireland, which pays corporation tax, and now pays a dividend. This proves that the restructuring and privatisation of the airline was a success.”
Contact: Nick Miller 086 6992080