Ryanair paves way for bond issue with first credit rating

DUBLIN, March 20 Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:55am EDT

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DUBLIN, March 20 (Reuters) - Ryanair has secured its first credit rating as it prepares to tap capital markets to finance its order for 175 Boeing jets, gaining a BBB+ rating from Standard & Poor's, the Irish airline said on Thursday.

Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers has raised funds in the past through bonds backed by the U.S. government-owned ExIm bank, but is preparing to tap markets directly for the first time to lower its cost of financing.

A Ryanair spokesman declined to say when the company's first bond issue would take place. Deliveries of the airline's order of 175 Boeing 737s are due to begin later this year.

Ryanair also said it had completed a 70 million euro share buyback, taking the total to 484 million over the past 12 months. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by David Holmes)

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