A spokesman for Ryanair has described as “paltry” the €4.73m it will receive in a dividend payment from Aer Lingus, despite the fact it will make more of a return than the Government.
Aer Lingus announced yesterday it intends to pay a dividend in future years if the company makes an operating profit, so long as the payment is considered appropriate and prudent.
“The board believes that, at the present time, an ongoing, sustainable dividend policy is more appropriate for Aer Lingus and its shareholders than a special dividend or other form of non-recurring return of capital,” the company said at its AGM.
However, Ryanair has claimed the decision was politically motivated.
“Ryanair’s call for a dividend over the past three years were repeatedly ignored and Ryanair was prevented from tabling a request for a dividend at last year’s AGM, yet within weeks of Minister Leo Varadkar calling for a dividend, the board of Aer Lingus has done as he requested and declared one,” said Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara.
Ryanair will earn €4.73m from its 29.8% stake, while the Government will see a return of €3.97m on its 25% stake.
“Aer Lingus could easily afford a dividend of €50m which would generate €12.5m for Minister Varadkar while still leaving Aer Lingus with almost €1bn of gross cash,” Mr McNamara said.
“Today’s dividend of 3cents per share is an insult to Minister Varadkar and the Irish Government,” the Ryanair spokesman said. The Irish government plans a sale of Aer Lingus in the very near future.