France Airport Guide


Friday, 23 September 2011

Easyjet announces £150 million special dividend

EASYJET yesterday bowed to the demands of its founder and biggest shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, to announce a £150 million special dividend. But the power battle in the belly of the budget airline appeared to linger on, with chief executive Carolyn McCall saying she would have distributed the payout without HajiIoannou’s demands. The Greek entrepreneur resigned from easyJet’s board last year amid demands that the airline pay dividends rather than expand its fleet.
McCall said: “Since last November we’ve consistently said that we would keep the balance sheet under review. We wanted to bank the summer months and have some visibility into the first quarter. Now we have, we feel confident that an extra dividend is in the interest of all shareholders. Any company that has excess liquidity should return it if doesn’t have anything to do with it.”
Asked if the carrier would have announced the £150 million dividend without Haji-Ioannou attacking easyJet’s expansion plans, McCall said: “Yes."

Haji-Ioannou will pocket £72 million from the special payout and easyJet’s maiden dividend, to be paid early next year.
Shares rose almost 7% or 20.3p to 332.3p as easyJet raised its profit forecast for the year to October from the range of £200 million to £230 million to between £240 million and £250 million.
McCall added: “We’re taking an extremely cautious approach to the next two years. With consumer uncertainty, high oil prices, the Emissions Trading Scheme coming in, the uncertain eurozone and a possible increase to Air Passenger Duty, there are extremely difficult headwinds.”



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