* Ryanair says recieves statement of objections from EU
* Airline still has opportunity to offer additional remedies
* Says confident of approval in final decision next year
DUBLIN, Nov 14 Ryanair remains confident
of securing European Union approval of its bid to take over
Irish rival Aer Lingus, despite receiving a statement
of objections from its competition watchdog, the budget airline
said on Wednesday.
Ryanair said the European commission submitted its
objections on Tuesday, but it has not made them public. The
airline still has the opportunity to make more concessions
before a final commission decision that is due early next year.
"Ryanair... remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus
will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment
by the commission," the airline said in a statement.
The issuing of a statement of objections is "a standard
procedural step," Ryanair said. It said it expected the
commission to market test its package of competition remedies.
Ryanair, which already owns 30 percent of Aer Lingus, had an
initial bid turned down by the European Commission on
competition grounds in 2007 and dropped a second offer in 2009.
Analysts and investors view its latest 700 million euros
($890 million) bid as a long shot - reflected in Aer Lingus's
shares trading well below the bid price.
Aer Lingus shares fell 1.1 percent to 1.04 euros on
Wednesday at 1643 GMT, compared to a bid price of 1.30 euros.
The key to Ryanair's bid is a demonstration that a merger
will not curb competition on the 44 routes on which the two
airlines currently have no competitors.
Ryanair said it had secured agreement with third-party
airlines to create "a number of new airline bases in Dublin" and
new competitors on over 40 routes out of Ireland.
Additional solutions will guarantee increased price
competition on routes out of Ireland, the airline said.