Ryanair to delist from London Stock Exchange over Brexit

The low-cost airline will continue to be listed on the Euronext Dublin exchange

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair airplane taxis past two parked aircraft at Weeze Airport, near the German-Dutch border, during a strike of Ryanair airline crews in Weeze, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
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Ryanair has confirmed it will delist itself from the London Stock Exchange, due to high costs and a low volume of trading.

The low-cost airline said Brexit was a major factor in its decision, which will take effect when trading closes on December 17.

From that point, it will be listed solely on the Euronext Dublin exchange. Ryanair currently has dual-listed status.

At the publication of its results in early November, the group indicated the move – before confirming this on Friday.

“As indicated at our interim results, and following subsequent shareholder engagement, Ryanair has decided to request the cancellation of London listing as the volume of trading of the shares on the London Stock Exchange does not justify the costs related to such listing and admission to trading, and so as to consolidate trading liquidity to one regulated market for the benefit of all shareholders,” the company said.

In September, the budget airline started the process of selling off around one million shares bought by non-EU nationals since January 1, due to company rules and Brexit.

These had been bought by mainly British investors.

The airline has a prohibition on non-EU nationals snapping up a stake in the company, dating back to 2002.

“The migration away from the LSE is consistent with a general trend for trading in shares of EU corporates post-Brexit and is, potentially, more acute for Ryanair as a result of the long-standing prohibition on non-EU citizens purchasing Ryanair's ordinary shares being extended to UK nationals following Brexit,” Ryanair said in early November.

It reported its first quarterly profit since the Covid-19 pandemic began but warned it was on track for an annual loss of up to €200 million ($231.4m).

The firm reported net income of €225m in its second quarter, which ended on September 30 – its first quarterly profit since the last three months of 2019.

Reacting to the carrier’s announcement on Friday, AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said the move would likely be seen as a “Brexit loss” for the UK.

He said Ryanair, run by Irish businessman Michael O’Leary, is “desperate” for an EU-majority ownership to make flying in and out of airports in member states easier after Brexit.

“For a business with a razor-sharp focus on costs, it seems the expense of maintaining a UK listing just doesn’t stack up any more, given a decline in trading volumes and so Ryanair is planning a pre-Christmas getaway,” said Mr Mould.

Mr Mould compared Ryanair's decision with the announcement this week by oil company Shell that it is moving its headquarters to the UK from the Netherlands.

“If Shell’s decision to pivot to London was chalked up as a Brexit win, this is likely to be characterised as a Brexit loss in some quarters, coming after restrictions were introduced on UK investors buying its shares at the start of the year.

“Ryanair is desperate to be majority EU-owned in order to retain full licensing and flight rights in the bloc following the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Ryanair chief executive Mr O’Leary has been an outspoken critic of the British government’s Covid travel restrictions and furlough scheme, accusing ministers of failing to do enough to help the airline industry.

Updated: November 19, 2021, 11:20 AM