Ryanair Seeks To Limit UK Share Holding With Buyback Amendment

By Dave Simpson
Ryanair Seeks To Limit UK Share Holding With Buyback Amendment

Ryanair has amended the terms of a €700 million share buyback to allow block repurchases that it said could limit the holdings of British shareholders and ensure it remains majority EU-owned after Brexit.

Ryanair triggered contingency plans in March to restrict the voting rights of British shareholders if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on future relations or quits both the EU customs union and single market in a "hard" Brexit scenario.

The restrictions are aimed at ensuring Europe's largest low-cost carrier remains majority EU-owned to comply with its licensing and flight rights.

The airline said in a statement, "Ryanair advises that it is amending the terms of the arrangements to allow for shares to be repurchased by way of block trades from EU holders of shares.

"Any such block repurchases from UK holders will, in the event of a no-deal or 'hard' Brexit, limit the proportionate number of shares held by, or on behalf of, non-EU shareholders, and should therefore reduce the period that the resolutions announced on March 11 would need to remain in place."


Redomicile Expectation

Ryanair chief financial officer Neil Sorohan said in February that while the airline was 55% EU-owned, Britain-based shareholders controlled 20% of its stock. He told Reuters he expected half of those to redomicile to the EU in a no-deal or "hard" Brexit.

Ryanair announced the €700 million buyback last month, guiding that it expected to split it between €500 million of shares in underlying American Depositary Shares (ADS) and €200 million of ordinary shares, but that the board had discretion to revise this allocation.

The airline said on Wednesday June 26 that the split between ADS and ordinary shares will be dependent on market conditions and legal and regulatory requirements. The programme is due to take nine to 12 months.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.