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Ryanair Amends Buyback Program to Cut Back UK Shareholding

Ryanair Holdings plc. RYAAY announced that it has amended the terms of a €700-million stock repurchase program to limit the number of British shareholders in the company. Through this move, the company aims to remain EU-owned majorly so as to comply with the licensing and flight rights. The €700-million buyback program commenced on May 21, 2019 and is expected to run for the next 9-12 months.

Earlier in March, Ryanair came to a resolution by virtue of which all shares held by non-EU shareholders (including British shareholders after Brexit) will be considered as "restricted shares", i.e, they will not be entitled to attend, speak or vote at company meetings.

Per the amended agreement, the airline will allow shares to be repurchased via block trades from EU shareholders. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, block repurchases from UK shareholders will lower the number of shares held by non-EU shareholders. Consequently, the amendment should reduce the time period for which the above-mentioned resolutions need to be in place.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Ryanair carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the same space are Air China Ltd. AIRYY, SkyWest, Inc. SKYW and United Continental Holdings, Inc. UAL. While Air China sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), SkyWest and United Continental carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Air China, SkyWest and United Continental have gained more than 12%, 27% and 2%, respectively, in the past six months.

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