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Ryanair to Return $1.3 Billion to Investors Over Two Years

Ryanair to Return EU1 Billion to Investors Over Next Two Years
Ryanair is boosting returns as it seeks to accelerate annual traffic growth to 7 percent over coming years from 5 percent. Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest discount airline, said it will return 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to shareholders over the next two years. The shares rose to a record.

Ryanair plans to repurchase at least 400 million euros of stock in the current fiscal year through March 2014, with as much as 600 million euros to be paid out in the following 12 months in further buybacks or a special dividend, the Dublin-based company said today in a statement. The second part of the payout is subject to recent fuel, yield and profitability trends continuing, it said.

Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary is boosting returns as he seeks to accelerate the carrier’s annual traffic growth to 7 percent over coming years from 5 percent. That will take the passenger total to 110 million by fiscal 2019, 10 million more than previously targeted, according to the company, which is briefing investors in London.

The shares rose as much as 5.1 percent, the biggest intraday increase since May 20, and closed at 7.06 euros, the highest since their listing.

Ryanair said yesterday a team that it set up to evaluate Boeing Co.’s 737 Max model will report back by the end of September, paving the way for an order that might run to more than 200 of the narrow-body planes. The carrier wants to seal terms including price by the end of this year as it seeks to swell the fleet to more than 500 aircraft, O’Leary said yesterday after concluding a deal for 175 current-model 737-800s.

The company already returned 1.53 billion euros to shareholders since 2008 through 538 million euros in share buybacks and two special dividends totaling 992 million euros, according to a presentation.

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