EasyJet board bows to Stelios over growth

BUDGET airline easyJet predicted a full-year pre-tax profit of &pound;25-50m yesterday, despite the massive industry slump, but bowed to pressure from biggest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and halved its future growth rate target to 7.5 per cent.<br /><br />Stelios had rowed with the company&rsquo;s board late last year over his worries about the expansion plans of the airline during a downturn.<br /><br />The carrier said revenues had risen 12 per cent to &pound;721m in the third quarter and, although August would be crucial, it was confident of finishing its financial year to the end of September in the black.<br /><br />&ldquo;This has been a resilient third quarter and our position has continued to strengthen,&rdquo; chief executive Andy Harrison said &ldquo;We expect to be one of the few airlines to make a profit this year,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />Irish rival Ryanair warned earlier this week that profits would fall to the lower end of expectations, although its anticipated profit of at least &euro;200m (&pound;149m) is still much higher than easyJet&rsquo;s.