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Ryanair overtakes CRH to become Ireland's biggest listed company


Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photo: Bloomberg

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photo: Bloomberg

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photo: Bloomberg

Ryanair became Ireland's biggest indigenous company by market capitalisation yesterday, stripping CRH of the title in a dramatic change at the top as stock market turmoil continued to grip global markets.

The airline's market capitalisation topped €17.3bn at one point as it jostled with CRH for supremacy on Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index.

It's the first time since the beginning of the financial crash that building materials firm CRH hadn't held the top spot. It was previously overshadowed by AIB, when bank shares surged during the boom.

The battle for supremacy between Ryanair and CRH was waged all day, with about €400m in market capitalisation separating the two giants by morning time.

But as the market close approached, the gap narrowed until Ryanair grabbed pole position, as its shares continue to climb while those of CRH struggled.

At one point just minutes before the close, shares in Ryanair, headed by Michael O'Leary, topped up earlier gains, hitting €13.17.

Following its new share buyback programme, the airline had over 1.317bn shares in issue yesterday. That gave it a market capitalisation of €17.34bn.

At the same time, CRH's shares were changing hands at €20.95 in Dublin. That gave it a market capitalisation of €17.23bn.

But by the end of the session, the position had changed again, with just hair's breadth separating the two firms.

The official closing price of Ryanair shares on the Dublin market yesterday was €13.11, which was up about 2.8pc on the day. That gave it a market capitalisation of €17.267bn at the close of business.

Shares in CRH, which is headed by chief executive Albert Manifold, officially closed at €21 in Dublin, where it maintains its secondary listing. Its primary listing is in London. That gave the global building materials giant a market capitalisation of €17.278bn.

As markets open again this morning, the positions are likely to change again.

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