Ryanair is taking voting rights away from UK shareholders

Ryanair is serious. At the end of the year, the low-cost airline will withdraw voting rights from its British shareholders. Ryanair announced this step on March 11, 2019 in the event of a hard Brexit. The company wants to ensure that it will be able to operate all planned flights in the EU from 2021.

Timo Kotowski

The flight rights are based on the condition that a company belongs to a majority of shareholders from the EU or is under their influence. Ryanair is based in Ireland, but almost half of the shareholders are from Great Britain. If they were to buy more shares, the decisive threshold would quickly be exceeded.

For the same reason, Ryanair’s competitor Wizzair, based in Hungary, announced that it would withdraw voting rights. Because the company has shareholders from Great Britain and other non-EU countries, around 60 percent of the shareholders are now excluded from voting at general meetings. Otherwise Wizzair could have lost its status as an EU airline.

Transitional arrangement ends

So far, airlines have benefited from a transitional arrangement that gave them the same rights after formal Brexit as they did before the UK left. But the deadline is now running out without a full-fledged follow-up regulation being resolved in the Brexit agreements last week. The negotiating partners had only agreed to explore an opening clause for a further twelve months.

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