Thursday 22 March 2018

Ryanair snapped up €150m of its own shares in Brexit aftermath

Michael O'Leary; Credit Simon Calder
Michael O'Leary; Credit Simon Calder
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

RYANAIR will consider taking advantage of any persistent weakness in its share price following last week’s Brexit vote to buy back more of its own shares, chief executive Michael O’Leary said this morning.

“The airline’s board authorised the repurchase of €150m worth of its own shares at an average price of just under €11.85 in the immediate aftermath of the UK Brexit vote last week,” said Mr O’Leary. “We believe repurchases at these levels will enhance shareholder returns.”

Shares in the airline were hammered by the Brexit vote and a profit warning issued by Easyjet following the decision by the UK to leave the European Union.

Ryanair’s shares were trading at €11.30 yesterday compared to €13.68 before the referendum result.

Following the share buyback in the past week, the carrier has now completed an €885m share buyback programme, buying just over 65m shares at an average price of just under €13.48 each.

But the airline has now reached the 5pc buyback limit secured under a resolution at its annual general meeting last year. It said it will hold an extraordinary general meeting later this month to seek shareholder approval to engage in further buybacks.

“It is sensible to request approval from shareholders to allow the board consider further share buybacks over the next 15 months should they deem it in the best interests of shareholders to do so,” said Mr O’Leary. He added that the airline does not intend to engage in a formal buyback programme this year, however.

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