23 May 2012
The UK Court of Appeal has thrown out Ryanair"s claim that the Office of Fair Trading is "out of time" to investigate its stake in Aer Lingus.
The OFT restarted its investigation into Ryanair"s six year old 29% stake in the Irish airline last September.
But it had been put on hold while Ryanair took its case to the Court of Appeal, claiming that the OFT was "out of time".
Ryanair now intends to take the case to the Supreme Court and will look to have any OFT investigation suspended until the outcome of that case.
Ryanair says the EU Commission confirmed that Ryanair couldn"t be forced to sell its minority stake when it stopped Ryanair"s takeover of Aer Lingus in June 2007 because the airline did not have de facto or de jure control.
But Aer Lingus argues that it is not acceptable for their main competitor to remain a significant shareholder even though the EU blocked the hostile takeover five years ago.
Aer Lingus" CEO, Christoph Mueller, said: "This intolerable situation cannot be allowed to continue and today"s judgment confirms that the OFT has the jurisdiction to investigate the anti-competitive effects of Ryanair"s minority shareholding in Aer Lingus.
"The OFT can now proceed swiftly to complete its investigation into Ryanair"s shareholding which is contrary to the interests of consumers and the majority of our shareholders."