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Ryanair restricts voting rights of non-EU shareholders in Brexit move

FILE PHOTO: A man stands at a Ryanair check-in desk at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Barcelona, Spain, July 26, 2020. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair on Tuesday confirmed it would restrict the voting rights of British shareholders from Jan. 1 in a bid to ensure it remains majority EU-owned and retain full licensing and flight rights in the bloc.

The plan to restrict British shareholders was approved by the airline last year, subject to the terms of a final agreement on Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, which was agreed last week.

“Restricted Share Notices will be issued to the registered holder(s) of each Restricted Share in due course, specifying that the holder(s) of such shares shall not be entitled to attend, speak or vote at any general meeting of the Company,” Ryanair said in a statement.

“These resolutions will remain in place until the Board of the Company determines that the ownership and control of the Company is no longer such that there is any risk to the airline licences held by the Company’s subsidiaries,” the statement said.

UK nationals, like all other non-EU nationals, will not be permitted to acquire ordinary shares, the statement said.

Ryanair last February said that while the airline was 55% EU-owned, Britain-based shareholders at the time controlled around 20% of its stock.

Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan said at the time he expected half of those to re-domicile to the EU if Britain chose to make a sharp break with the EU.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely

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