O'Leary sells off €20m Ryanair shares
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary sold nearly €20m of shares in the airline yesterday.
The carrier's shares have soared in recent weeks amid confirmation of a €500m dividend that will be paid to shareholders in the autumn and a robust financial performance.
Mr O'Leary, who before yesterday owned more than 60 million shares, or 4.04pc of Ryanair, is understood to have offloaded five million shares at €3.90 each. That resulted in a gain of €19.5m, which is then subject to capital gains tax of 20pc, making for a €3.9m windfall for the exchequer and leaving Mr O'Leary with €15.6m.
But the sale by Mr O'Leary will mean he'll miss out on a €1.7m payment from the dividend fund when it's distributed to shareholders in October.
A person must be in possession of Ryanair shares at the cut-off date of September 15 if they are to receive a share of the dividend spoils when cheques are sent to investors on October 1. The dividend payment has to be approved by shareholders at the airline's annual general meeting on September 22, but that's certain to be a mere formality.
Following yesterday's sale, Mr O'Leary is left with just over 55 million shares that are currently worth €211m based on yesterday's closing price of €3.83. That will still mean he'll be in line for a dividend payment of €18.5m come October.
Last year, Mr O'Leary also sold 5 million shares at €3.75 each, resulting in proceeds of €18.7m.
Shares in Ryanair closed down 2.9pc, or 11 cent in Dublin yesterday, when it emerged that Mr O'Leary had sold stock. The airline never comments on share sales by executives.
Ryanair confirmed recently that it would make the €500m dividend -- its first ever -- payment this autumn after talks with US aircraft manufacturer Boeing to place a massive order for new aircraft broke down before Christmas.
"Frankly, we don't have any other use for the money," Mr O'Leary said recently.
The airline is also preparing to pay a further €500m dividend to shareholders, probably in 2013.
Mr O'Leary was paid €595,000 for his role as chief executive at Ryanair in the year to the end of March, after he took a voluntary 10pc pay cut. His bonus for the period was almost cut in half, to €241,000.
Last week, Ryanair reported a pre-tax profit of €105m for the three months to the end of June after it shouldered a €50m charge related to the volcanic ash fallout.