March 11, 2019 / 10:17 AM / 10 days ago

Ryanair triggers Brexit plans on restricted shareholder rights

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft lands at the airport in Modlin near Warsaw, Poland November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair has triggered contingency plans to restrict the voting rights of British shareholders if it leaves the European Union without a deal on future relations or quits both the EU customs union and single market in a “hard” Brexit scenario.

Ryanair announced last year it would have to restrict the rights if UK shareholders ceased to qualify as European Union nationals to ensure it remained majority EU-owned to comply with its licensing and flight rights.

Its board passed a number of resolutions on Friday which will become effective on the date British nationals become non-EU nationals, Europe’s biggest low cost airline said in a statement.

At that point, shareholders will be issued with restricted share notices, specifying that they will not be entitled to attend, speak or vote at any general meeting of the company for as long as those shares are treated as restricted shares.

“These resolutions will remain in place until the board determines that the ownership and control of the company is no longer such that there is any risk to the airline licenses held by the company’s subsidiaries pursuant to EU Regulation 1008/2008,” Ryanair said.

Ryanair Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorohan said last month that while the airline was 55 percent EU-owned, Britain-based shareholders controlled 20 percent of its stock. He told Reuters he expected half of those to redomicile to the EU in a no-deal or “hard” Brexit.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary also said last month that the carrier might look to buy back shares in the event of a no-deal Brexit to use it as an opportunity for British shareholders to dispose stock due to the planned restrictions.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Edmund Blair

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