Friday 17 January 2020

Ryanair chairman sells off €14.5m worth of shares

Nick Webb

Ryanair chairman David Bonderman and his family sold €14.5m worth of shares in the low-cost airline last week. It was the largest sale of any shares in an Irish listed company by a board member so far this year.

Bonderman who heads up the €40bn TPG private equity giant retains 9.23m shares worth €33m. The shares were sold by the Bonderman children's trust on December 2.

Ryanair's share price has risen since then.

Bonderman has been on the board of Ryanair since 1996. Ten years ago the billionaire hired the Rolling Stones and John Mellencamp to play at his 60th birthday party in Las Vegas. Robin Williams was the warm-up act. The shindig, costing €5.2m, is said to have been one of the most expensive birthday parties of all time.

Bonderman's move to offload a substantial chunk of his family's interest in the airline comes as Ryanair ratchets up pressure on Aer Lingus to release the report into the disastrous 'leave and return' scheme which saw Aer Lingus forced to pay €30m to the Revenue Commissioners after rehiring the same staff it had let go under a complex employment deal.

Aer Lingus has refused to publish the report into the scheme. As a 29.8 per cent shareholder in the former semi-state airline, Ryanair has sought to force Aer Lingus to hold an egm where the report can be discussed. Aer Lingus has not agreed to the request from its largest shareholder.

Last Friday, Ryanair's Michael O'Leary wrote to Aer Lingus threatening to sue the airline if it moved to top up its pension fund which faces a deficit close to €500m. The funding of the black hole in the pension scheme is one of the key issues facing the airline.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business