Christmas Comes Early for Aer Lingus Employees Past and Present



Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

The current and former employees of AerLingus have something to smile about his Christmas, as the former national airline has bought out the Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT).
Aer lingus yesterday announced that it had made one payment of €25.3 million to the 4,700 past and existing members of the group, in doing so whipping out the ESOT’S debt, and the groups obligation to pay any further share of profits to the trust.
These borrowings are from stock bought in 2006 when the ESOT subscribed for 15.5 million shares at the time of the company’s market debut.  The transaction took the group’s holding in the airline to 12.5 per cent.
The deal also allowed the ESOT the distribution of 66.6 million shares to its 4,700 members, equating to an average of 14,170 shares each. With yesterday’s closing price at €1.13, the shares are valued at just over €16,000.
The airline no longer holds an obligation to pay profit share to staff. A profit share obligation was established in 2006 when the company went public. Aer lingus were initially obliged to pay an annual share of profits to the ESOT until April 2003, along with the debt and associated interest of the group.
The airline released a statement yesterday stating that the move would provide them with a financial benefit for the future, as the once off cash payment is less than the future profit share payments that were associated with the share ownership deal.
Aer Lingus chief executive, Christoph Mueller stated; “This development represents a significant benefit for Aer Lingus and its employees, the transaction makes financial sense for the group and significantly increases direct employee share ownership.”
ESOT Chairman Shay Cody shared the enthusiasm when she said; “”The ESOT looks back with satisfaction on its time as a significant shareholder in Aer Lingus, during which period it played an important role in the development of the group.”

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