Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary pockets £20m windfall after cashing in shares as budget airline’s bookings take off
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has pocketed a £20 million windfall after cashing in Ryanair shares as the budget airline’s bookings take off.
O’Leary exercised options over 2.5 million shares just over a week ago and sold them the same day. The transaction gave the Irish businessman a pre-tax profit of €23.3 million. The details emerged in a stock exchange filing last Monday after markets closed.
Jackpot: Now Michael O’Leary, with wife Anita Farrell, is after €100million bonus
O’Leary was given the share options under a five-year bonus plan agreed in 2014. He has since been awarded an incentive plan that will pay him €100 million if shares hit €21 or above for a 28-day period between April 2021 and March 2024. The payout could also be triggered if Ryanair’s profits double to €2 billion in the same period.
Analysts say O’Leary is in sight of the €100 million bonus as Ryanair shares recover to pre-pandemic highs, doubling from €8.52 in March last year to close at €16.88 on Friday.
He is the biggest individual shareholder in Ryanair with a 3.91 per cent stake worth€776 million. In addition he has 12.5 million share options.
O’Leary has admitted that at the start of the pandemic he feared the airline would run out of cash. But revenues were boosted by a surge in bookings after restrictions were scrapped for vaccinated passengers, reducing half-year losses to €48 million, compared to €411 million last year. In October, Ryanair carried 11.3 million passengers, compared to 4.1 million in October last year.