Ryanair to launch employee share option scheme
Plan aimed at rewarding and incentivising selected senior staff and directors
Ryanair’s board said the airline intends to bring forwards proposals for a stock option bonus scheme, capped at 5 per cent of the carrier’s existing shares. Photograph: Alan Betson
Ryanair is to seek shareholder approval for a new share option scheme at the company agm next month.
The board said the plan was aimed at rewarding, retaining and incentivising selected senior employees and directors at the airline.
No share option grants have been made since 2008 and, having recently completed an agreement to buy 175 new Boeing aircraft, Ryanair said it believed it was now appropriate to provide for new option grants that would reflect the financial and commercial targets it had set itself.
The airline will bring proposals for a stock option bonus scheme, capped at 5 per cent of the carrier’s existing shares.
Ryanair has a current market value of €9.4 billion, which means a maximum value of €470 million could be up for grabs.
However, the scheme is likely to be much smaller: the value of the last incentive scheme was closer to €25 million.
“This scheme is similar to many others in that it’s capped at 5 per cent, but the last allocation was less than 10 million shares at a value of less than €25 million,” a spokesman said.
The scheme will tie Ryanair staff to the company for five years, as the shares will not vest if they leave the airline before that time.
The airline was one of the first Irish plc companies to introduce a share option scheme, when in 1998 it issued 10 million share options to pilots, cabin crew, administrators and airport staff.
In May, Ryanair announced record full-year profits of €569 million on revenues of €4.9 billion.
On June 4th it completed a small share buyback that was worth €56 million on the basis of that day’s €7.02 closing price in Dublin.
Ryanair shares closed down 1.4 per cent in Dublin on Friday, as the airline continued to deal with the fallout from a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.
The programme featured a survey of more than 1,000 Ryanair pilots, most of whom expressed misgivings about safety at the airline.
It found 94 per cent wanted regulators to conduct an inquiry into the impact of employment practices on safety, while two-thirds were not comfortable raising issues through an internal reporting system.
Ryanair last week dismissed one of its longest-serving pilots, John Goss, for revealing safety concerns about the airline in the documentary.
Capt Goss, who had been due to retire in October, was the only Ryanair pilot to be identified on the programme.
The airline also initiated High Court defamation proceedings against Channel 4 and several other media outlets arising from the documentary.