EasyJet poised to pay first dividend

Marion Dakers
BUDGET airline easyJet is set to announce its first dividend payment alongside its results tomorrow, according to reports.

The carrier has not paid a dividend since it listed ten years ago, but new chief executive Carolyn McCall has come under pressure from founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou to appease shareholders.

Stelios, who quit the board in May in a row over strategy, said in an recent interview that the company should slow down expansion and pay a small, regular dividend.

Stelios had threatened to withdraw easyJet’s permission to use the orange “easy” branding, but has since signed a licencing agreement that gives him 0.25 per cent of the firm’s profits.

The FTSE 250-listed firm is expected to announce pre-tax profit of £154.5m tomorrow, following a profit upgrade in October that sent its shares up ten per cent.

Annual profit is expected to be three-times more than last year, when higher fuel and staffing costs took the firm by surprise.

Analysts have predicted strong profit growth in easyJet’s results, despite the firm losing millions when flights were grounded in April due to the volcanic ash cloud.

Shares in easyJet closed at 466p on Friday, giving the firm a market capitalisation of almost £2bn.