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Time for Ryanair to pay regular dividend

With the business having gone ex-growth and throwing off hundreds of millions in spare cash, it is high time that Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary overcame his apparent dividend-phobia and started making regular payouts to shareholders.

Speaking at this week's Ryanair EGM, Mr O'Leary told shareholders that the airline would probably pay a special dividend of €500m in the year to the end of March 2013.

This will be the second such special dividend -- the airline also paid a special dividend of €500m in 2010 and has spent €190m on share buybacks since then. A €500m special dividend would translate into a payout of 35 cent a share.

With 55 million Ryanair shares, the payout will be worth over €19m to Mr O'Leary.

But now that it has put its helter-skelter growth behind it, is throwing off tonnes of cash and won't be purchasing any new planes until at least 2014, is it time for Ryanair to start behaving like a normal company and start paying regular half-year and full-year dividends to its shareholders?

Or as Father Ted's housekeeper Mrs Doyle would have put it: go on, go on, go on ...

Sunday Indo Business