Belfast Telegraph

New owners of Aer Lingus to pay out its first dividend

By Donal O'Donovan

The new owner of Aer Lingus will pay its first-ever dividend in December, the company said yesterday.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns British Airways and Spain's Iberia, is due to announce profits for the third quarter of its financial year today.

Those figures will be the first to include revenue and profit from Aer Lingus, which it bought in a €1.4bn (£1bn) deal that closed six weeks ago.

Aer Lingus flies to Algarve, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Palma and Malaga from Belfast, while British Airways flies to Heathrow from the city.

Aer Lingus will start flights to Alicante from Belfast in April next year.

The decision to announce the €0.10 a share dividend ahead of the results is seen as an indicator that IAG boss Willie Walsh is ready to announce a strong set of financial numbers today - including profits that are forecast to be in excess of €1.2bn.

"We're delighted to announce IAG's first dividend payment of €0.10 per share," Mr Walsh said. "For the full year we expect to pay out 25% of our underlying profit after tax in dividends and plan to announce a proposal for a final dividend for 2015 when the full-year results are published."

The interim dividend pay-out will be paid to eligible shareholders who hold IAG stock on December 4. Shareholders in IAG have not received a dividend since the group was formed in 2011 from a merger of Iberia and British Airways in an all-share deal.

Before that, neither of the two companies had paid a dividend since 2008. Former Aer Lingus shareholders will not share in the payout, because it was acquired in a cash transaction.

Belfast Telegraph