ETIHAD EYES UP AER LINGUS DEAL
LUXURY airline Etihad is eyeing up an investment in Aer Lingus.
The Middle East's third-largest carrier said the airline is on the list of preferred companies in which to invest.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said it is "looking at a range of carriers" and would seriously consider one or two global opportunities to help feed its network.
"We don't enter an agreement to bail somebody out, we enter into an agreement to improve our top line and revenue and take out more cost," said chief executive officer James Hogan (pictured above with Taoiseach Enda Kenny).
"With Aer Lingus we have looked at top line, but haven't entered into any advanced negotiations."
Shares in Aer Lingus jumped by more that 6pc after the comments. Etihad posted net income of $14m for last year and recorded sales at 36pc higher at $4.1bn. Cost reductions shaved $187m from expenses.
"We will aim for strong growth again in 2012, in spite of the tough global economic environment," Mr Hogan said.