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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Ryanair hits back as Danes mull share sale

Ryanair has predicted that "plenty of buyers" would be willing to snap up shares that Denmark's biggest pension fund manager said it might consider offloading because of concerns over the airline's labour practices.

A spokesman for the ATP fund told Danish newspaper Berlingske that it holds a stake in the Irish airline via a fund managed by a third party.

The spokesman said ATP was now considering what to do with that investment, citing concerns about the ability of staff at the airline to organise under a union.

While Ryanair does not prevent staff from joining a union, it does not negotiate with unions.

Violations

The ATP spokesman said that if there were repeated and deliberate violations of international conventions to which Denmark is a signatory, then the pension fund manager would leave its holding in Ryanair. A decision is still a number of weeks away.

ATP is Denmark's largest pension fund and social security provider, with 50pc of all Danish pensioners relying on the state pension and ATP for their retirement income.

ATP has 4.9 million members and pays the ATP Livslang Pension to almost a million pensioners.

At the end of 2014, it's biggest direct equity stake was a €214m holding in Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk. It's tenth-largest equity holding is an €80m stake in brewer Carlsberg.

Through an external fund, it's understood that ATP has a €3.3m stake in Ryanair, which has a market capitalisation of €16bn.

The ATP stance is the latest assault on the Irish airline in Denmark. Last month, the mayor of Copenhagen banned 45,000 municipal employees from flying with Ryanair for work purposes.

Mayor Frank Jensen said that this was as a result of the wages the airline pays its staff and what he said was the lack of a Danish collective bargaining agreement.

Ryanair said that it fully complies with all EU law.

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