Ryanair predicts doubled full-year profit

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Ryanair expects to double full-year profit to between €200 million ($294 million) and €300 million, it was revealed yesterday (September 24) at the low-cost carrier's AGM in Dublin.

For the year ending March 2009 Ryanair reported a €105 million profit, but it anticipates that higher passenger numbers in the 2009/10 financial year will bring a dramatic increase this year.

Meanwhile the airline's cash reserves have risen from €2.5 billion to €2.8 billion, prompting speculation that it may pay shareholders a dividend for the first time.

A spokesman for Ryanair says it "could not rule in or out" a one-off dividend, but emphasises that there is no timetable for any such payment.

The budget operator says it is keen to maintain its strong cash position to "secure an advantageous position with Boeing or Airbus" should the opportunity arise.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has pronounced it highly unlikely that the airline will make a renewed takeover bid for Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, though he would not entirely rule out such a move.

"We can't see the situation [for a bid] at the moment," confirms Ryanair's spokesman.