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Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, Anticipates €100 Million Bonus

The chief executive of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, is on the brink of a potential €100 million bonus, marking a significant milestone in European corporate history. The surge in the no-frills airline’s shares to a record high has set the stage for this extraordinary payout.

Conditions for the Mega Bonus

Ryanair’s stock price recently climbed to €18.99, bringing O’Leary closer to the threshold that could trigger the massive bonus. For the bonus to materialize, shares must either reach €21 and sustain that value for 28 days, or the company must report an annual post-tax profit of €2.2 billion. This lucrative bonus scheme was established in 2019.

The Mechanics of the Bonus

If the stock hits the designated watermark, O’Leary stands to receive share options, granting him the right to purchase equity at a discounted price. Reports indicate that he could acquire 10 million shares at €11.12 each, potentially translating to a significant paper profit of €98.8 million.

Ryanair’s Remarkable Stock Market Ascendancy

The required increase in share price would signify a remarkable doubling of the Dublin-based airline’s value since August 2019. This surge places Ryanair as the second most valuable airline globally by stock market capitalization, trailing only behind the US carrier Delta Air Lines.

O’Leary’s Stewardship and Current Holdings

Michael O’Leary, who assumed leadership at Ryanair in 1994, has overseen the airline’s meteoric rise to become Europe’s largest. With an existing stake of 3.9% in the company, valued at €907 million, O’Leary has played a pivotal role in the company’s success.

Extension of the Incentive Scheme

The prospective bonus is a result of an incentive scheme established in 2019, initially set to expire in 2024 but later extended until 2028 in December of the previous year. This extension, granted when the stock was below €13, has proved prescient given the current stock market conditions.

Analysts Predict Future Share Price

Financial analysts tracking the company forecast an average share price target of €24 over the next 12 months. This projection positions O’Leary comfortably above the bonus threshold, pointing towards a lucrative payout in the near future.

Company Performance and Air Travel Resurgence

Despite challenges in meeting profit targets, Ryanair has capitalized on the resurgence of air travel and increased average fares following the pandemic. The company has ambitious plans to double passenger numbers over the next decade, reinforcing O’Leary’s optimism about its future success.

Shareholders to Reap Rewards

In a noteworthy move, Ryanair announced in November that it would distribute regular payouts to shareholders for the first time. This decision comes on the heels of soaring airfares, positioning the airline to achieve record profits and further benefit its stakeholders.

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by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.

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