January 20, 2014 / 1:55 PM / in 4 years

Ryanair ponders debt market debut as it renews fleet

DUBLIN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Ireland’s Ryanair is looking at tapping capital markets directly for the first time as it prepares to take delivery of recently ordered Boeing aircraft, a senior executive said on Monday.

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 in the process of seeking a rating to gain direct access to debt markets.

“We are putting ourselves in a position to allow us access to capital markets. We have done it using U.S. government export credit...(but) we haven’t raised any money on Ryanair’s book in debt markets,” corporate treasurer James Dempsey told Reuters.

Asked about the timing, he noted that the first of 175 recently ordered Boeing 737s would not be delivered until late this year.

The airline is also exploring the idea of raising money through a euro-denominated version of Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates, a dollar-denominated funding structure popular with U.S. airlines and gradually being adopted abroad.

“We tend to value our aircraft owned in euros and we are in the euro zone,” Dempsey said, speaking on the sidelines of an Airline Economics conference in Dublin.

“If you take a U.S. capital markets product, we have to swap that back (from dollars). So we prefer to raise the money in euros. That is something we would be very interested in,” he added.

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