The board of Aer Lingus has indicated it is willing to recommend to shareholders that they accept a €1.3 billion takeover offer from British Airways parent IAG. In a statement to the stock exchange, the company said its board has indicated the financial terms are at a level it is willing to recommend but subject to IAG giving assurances that Aer Lingus operate as a separate business with its own brand, management and operations, while continuing to provide connectivity to Ireland.

Stephen Furlong, airline analyst at Davy Research, says that IAG will give as much assurance on the Heathrow landing slots as it can. Pointing out that even if Aer Lingus were to remain a standalone company, he says it can not guarantee the slots either. He also says that in the history of the Irish aviation industry, there has always been connectivity, adding that Ryanair has been building on for the last 30 years. "I don't think we are going to have an issue as an island in terms of connectivity," he states. When one gets into the detail of the proposed deal, he says there will be significant investment in air freight traffic. The proposed deal will be all about investment and growing the business, he adds/

Employees in specialist positions across a range of sectors may be in line for salary increases this year according to one of Ireland's largest recruitment consultants. Morgan McKinley's annual salary and benefits guide gives expected salary levels for different positions across different industries for 2015. It predicts pay rises of between 5% and 10% for staff in sectors including technology, life sciences, accounting and finance, science and engineering. Despite increased demand for staff across those industries some areas are still seeing a shortage of available talent putting upward pressure on salaries, the guide says. 

Trayc Keevans, Morgan McKinley's director of inward investment, says the study was compiled from a sample of over 30,000 professionals place in Ireland last year. The study reveals that areas such as digital media, IT, science and engineering, financial services are all expected to see a return of salary increases. Sectors not growing to the same degree include corporate recovery and insolvency, Ms Keevans says. Morgan McKinley says a network of 20 offices worldwide and Ms Keevans says that they are seeing a lot of Irish professionals based abroad who have registered their interest to return to Ireland to work. This is especially evident in the engineering sector - civil engineering, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors as well as tradesmen - as the recovery in the construction industry continues. Marketing professionals are also seeing increased demand - this would have been an area which suffered a lot during the downturn. Trayc Keevans also noted that new business is now the main focus for the retail banking industry and is driving demand for people with a hybrid of banking skills.

MORNING BRIEFS - Building materials group Kingspan has tied up a €315m deal to buy the Belgian company Joris Ide. It makes insulated panels and other products and has a number of manufacturing sites across Europe. Kingspan says its geographic footprint, including a site in Russia, is complementary to Kingspan's own business. Chief executive Gene Murtagh described the deal as a "quantum leap forward" in pursuit of its strategy to make Kingspan a global business.

*** The rise of Lego has done for Barbie or, at least, for the boss of the company which makes the doll - Mattel. Bryan Stockton, chief executive of the world's second largest toymaker, has resigned, falling on his swords after a poor Christmas for Mattel. Overnight the company reported a 6% fall in quarterly revenues, including the all-important festive season, to $2 billion. Mattel had already lost its position as the largest global toy company by sales to Lego under Stockton's watch. In a statement following his resignation Mattel chairman Christopher Sinclair said he believed it was the right time for "new leadership to maximise Mattel's potential".