- The two LSE-listed airline companies, Ryanair Holdings PLC and Wizz Air Holdings PLC, have confirmed that to save their European licenses, they will restrict the voting rights of the UK shareholders.
- The airline companies holding operating licences issued by the UK will no longer have access to the EU aviation market from January.
Once the UK leaves the EU on 31 December, the airline companies holding operating licences issued by the UK will no longer have automatic access to the single EU aviation market. The companies will have to make alternative arrangements in order to operate from or within the EU.
In this regard, the two LSE-listed airline companies, Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON: RYA) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON: WIZZ), have confirmed that to save their European licenses, they will remove the voting rights of the UK shareholders after the end of the transition period.
Irish airline Ryanair said that as per the resolutions passed by the company board on 8 March 2019, all ordinary shares and depositary shares that are held by or on behalf of non-EU nationals would be treated as "restricted shares” from 1 January, following which the UK nationals will cease to qualify as nationals of member states.
The registered holder of each restricted share will be issued notices which will specify that the holders of such shares shall not be entitled to attend, speak or vote at any general meeting of the company as long as their shares are treated as restricted shares.
Until the board determines that the ownership and control of the company does not put the licences of the airline company under any risk, these resolutions will continue to be in effect.
Ryanair also stated that though the UK nationals will lose the right to attend, speak or vote at any general meeting, they will not be required to sell any ordinary shares which they owned prior to the transition period.
Ryanair’s shares closed at GBX 16.88 on 29 December, 2.83 per cent above its previous day’s closing of GBX 16.42.
Hungarian airline Wizz Air also announced its decision of disfranchisement of ordinary shares. The company said the UK nationals will no longer be treated as qualifying nationals as per the ongoing requirements of the European airline ownership from 1 January and the company will be issuing restricted share notices to UK shareholders. Around six of its 10 shareholders will be restricted from attending and exercising their power in future general meetings.
Wizz Air said that if it did not act, around 80 per cent of its shares would be held by non-EU nationals.
On 29 December, the shares of Wizz Air closed at GBX 4,690.00, losing 0.47 per cent from its previous close of GBX 4,712.00.
EasyJet PLC (LON: EZJ) had also announced earlier that it would be implementing a restriction on the voting rights of certain shares if the level of non-EU national ownership remains above 49.5 per cent.