The Ryanair co-founder shuffles the deck...
Declan Ryan has agreed to sell his company, Irelandia Aviation’s 49% share in the Mexican budget airline, VivaAerobus, to the majority shareholder, IAMSA, Mexico’s leading bus operator - according to the Financial Times.
While no price has been officially disclosed for the deal, local newspaper reports have suggested it could amount to $250m.
According to the report, Irelandia is selling out in Mexico after a ten-year presence there to focus on expanding the Viva budget airline brand elsewhere in Central and Southern America.
"We’ve been in Mexico 10 years, we adore the country ... But we think the new frontier is the whole of central and South America, and that’s what we’re concentrating on.
"To be frank, the Viva brand could be throughout South America," Mr Ryan told the newspaper.
The company already has a presence in Colombia and is targeting markets such as Argentina and Venezuela, though not Brazil because of prohibitive set-up costs there. Irelandia also owns Tiger Airways in Asia and Allegiant in the US.
"Viva won’t be as big as Ryanair because the access to disposable income is not the same, but I have no doubt the brand can go to 100 airports," Mr Ryan stated.
He added that the Viva Air holding company could seek a stockmarket flotation within two to three years.