I would draw the Deputy's attention to my announcement of February 22 last in which I outlined the shape and scale of the asset disposal programme that is to be pursued.
In brief, the programme that was agreed by Government in February consists of:
The sale of Bord Gáis Éireann's energy business (but not including BGÉ's gas transmission or distribution systems or the two gas interconnectors, which will remain in State ownership); and
The sale of some of ESB's non-strategic power generation capacity;
Consideration is also being given to the sale of some assets of Coillte, but not Coillte's land holdings; and the sale of the State's remaining shareholding in Aer Lingus, when market conditions are favourable and at an acceptable price to Government.
Significant progress has been made on this programme since I made that announcement: a request for proposals issued recently in regard to the procurement of advisers for the BGE Energy transaction; the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has prepared a package of ESB's non-strategic power generation assets to be brought to market and this has been endorsed by Government; in the case of Coillte, the Government has determined that a concession for the harvesting rights will be proposed for sale. Nevertheless, I do not envisaged that any of these transactions will be underway before the end of this year.
Ryanair has made a formal bid for Aer Lingus and I am advised that, under the takeover rules of the Irish Takeover Panel, Aer Lingus is now in "offer period". I do not, therefore, propose to comment further on Aer Lingus at this time.