Sunday 25 September 2016

Ryanair reinvention - and good luck - is now reaping dividends

Published 10/09/2015 | 02:30

Ryanair still has not revealed what it will do with over €400m it received from the sale of its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus. Photo: PA
Ryanair still has not revealed what it will do with over €400m it received from the sale of its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus. Photo: PA
Michael O'Leary

Every shareholder likes to hear a lift in profit guidance. And for Michael O'Leary, the Ryanair share surge yesterday added a cool €59m on the value of his personal 3.7pc stake in the carrier. That made his holding worth a total of €668m.

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The shares fell back later, 'only' up just under 6pc by mid-afternoon, but there could be more to come.

Ryanair still has not revealed precisely what it will do with over €400m it has received from the sale of its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus after IAG bought the former State-owned airline.

While Ryanair could use the proceeds to help fund the purchase of aircraft, it might also decide to hand some or all of it back to shareholders, who have already been rewarded with share buybacks and special dividends. A decision will be made before the airline's annual general meeting, which will be held on September 24.

Other airlines including EasyJet have also issued profit guidance upgrades after strong summer performances. The Ryanair rival also expects to post a record full-year profit.

It's likely that without having changed its attitude to customers, and introducing its self-improvement campaign, Ryanair would now be very much on the back foot. Instead, its reinvention - still a process very much in progress - has reaped huge dividends.

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