Mergers are a pain

posted on 14th March 2023
Mergers are a pain

With its strong aircraft delivery stream Ryanair is focused on organic growth and will only look “very rarely” at mergers and acquisitions to scale up.
“We’ve done two M&As. There was Buzz back in Stansted about 20 years ago, and we did Lauda in Vienna about four years ago,” says O’Leary.
“Both of them have been a pain in the arse and taken three to four years. The timing of our Lauda acquisition was spectacularly awful. We bought into it just before Covid shut flying for two years. But it’s back. It is profitable now in Vienna and we’re now the number two airline in Vienna.
“We’ve had about two or three years where we were competing with Level and easyJet and Wizz and they’ve all actually withdrawn from Vienna now so it’s now all down to us and Lauda and Austrian,” he notes. “And I’m fairly sure we will outgrow Austrian over the next couple of years.”
O’Leary continues: “M&A is very difficult for us. We have a skinny management team, and our organic growth is so efficient. Most M&A in the case of Ryanair gets blocked by the European Commission. Our three offers for Aer Lingus are still the only deal that has been blocked by the European authorities. And yet when Lufthansa wants to buy off the German competition, they get approved.
“So, M&A for us is very difficult from a regulatory point of view. And it’s also very challenging from a cost point of view because you’re generally buying somebody else’s mess and then having to take three or four years to tidy it up. So, we are not keen. We are keener on Ryanair’s organic growth and ordering more aircraft.”