Irish low-fares carrier Ryanair plans a fresh share offering and a possible listing on the London stock exchange to help back its ambitious fleet and network expansion programme.

Ryanair, which launched on the Dublin and US Nasdaq markets last May, says that it plans to raise another IR£50 million ($70 million) through a share offering. The cash will largely be used to pay for the 25 Boeing 737-800s due for delivery through to 2003.

"This will enable us to expand the shareholder base in Europe as we expand our route network," said chairman David Bonderman, announcing the plans. A further stake of about 3.5%, held by the Ryan family, Bonderman's interests and chief executive Michael O'Leary, will also be sold.

The announcement follows a buoyant set of figures for Ryanair's 1997/8 financial year to the end of March, the first since its flotation. Passenger numbers continued to grow by some 30%, topping 4 million, while sales pushed up faster, to IR£183 million. Net profits also climbed to above IR£30 million, up from IR£21 million the year before. Although yields slipped by around 12%, seat costs fell faster, to just over 7¢ per seat kilometre (11¢ per mile).

Source: Flight International