Ryanair share price rises as it unveils massive share buyback, while profits more than double

Emma Haslett
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Ryanair said bookings were hit in the aftermath of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks (Source: Getty)

Ryanair is planning to return €800m (£609m) to its shareholders, after it unveiled a huge share buyback.

The company said by the end of the nine-month process, it will have returned €4bn to shareholders over eight years.

The announcement came as it posted results showing profits after tax jumped to €103m in the three months to the of December, a 110 per cent increase on the year before.

Traffic rose 20 per cent to 25m passengers, with revenues rising 17 per cent to €1.3bn.

Average fares fell one per cent to €40, which the company put down to its snappily-titled "load factor active/yield passive" pricing strategy.

However, Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive, said bookings had fallen after the terrorist events in Paris and Brussels.

"We reacted to this softness by running price promotions and discounted fares to stimulate double digit traffic growth. While average fares fell, this was offset by lower unit costs."

"We remain comfortable with our full year guidance that net profits will be towards the upper end of the €1.17bn to €1.22bn range," the airline added.

"We caution, however, that this guidance is heavily dependent on the absence of further unforeseen events impacting close-in bookings and yields in the fourth quarter, especially over Easter, where we are working to deliver 26 per cent traffic growth."

Shares rose one per cent to €13.90 in the first minutes of trading.
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