Brexit blow for UK as Ryanair leaves London exchange

Dublin-based Ryanair on Friday announced it will cancel its listing on the London Stock Exchange as it moves to comply with EU ownership rules following Brexit.

Ryanair had already warned it was considering leaving the LSE because of EU rules that require airlines to be owned and controlled by nationals from within the EU, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein.

On November 1, Ryanair had said: “Trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as a percentage of overall trading volume in Ryanair’s ordinary shares has reduced materially during 2021.

“The migration away from the LSE is consistent with a general trend for trading in shares of EU corporates post Brexit and is, potentially, more acute for Ryanair as a result of the long-standing prohibition on non-EU citizens purchasing Ryanair’s ordinary shares being extended to UK nationals following Brexit.”

Ryanair said in a statement on Friday: “The directors of Ryanair Holdings plc hereby give notice of their intention to request the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to cancel the standard listing of the company’s ordinary shares on the Official List of the FCA, and to request the London Stock Exchange to cancel the admission to trading of the Shares on the main market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange …

As indicated at our interim results, and following subsequent shareholder engagement, Ryanair has decided to request the cancellation of London listing as the volume of trading of the shares on the London Stock Exchange does not justify the costs related to such listing and admission to trading, and so as to consolidate trading liquidity to one regulated market for the benefit of all shareholders.

Pursuant to Listing Rule 5.2.8, the company is required to give at least 20 business days’ notice of the intended cancellation of listing.

“Therefore, it is intended that the cancellation of London Listing will become effective from 8.00 am (GMT) on 20 December 2021, such that the last day of trading of the shares on the London Stock Exchange would be 17 December 2021.

Following the cancelation of the London Listing, the company will continue to have a primary listing on the regulated market of Euronext Dublin, which offers shareholders the highest standard of protection, including compliance with the UK Corporate Governance Code, and its ADRs are listed on NASDAQ.”

AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould said: “For a business with a razor sharp focus on costs it seems the expense of maintaining a UK listing just doesn’t stack up any more given a decline in trading volumes and so Ryanair is planning a pre-Christmas getaway.

“If Shell’s decision to pivot to London was chalked up as a Brexit win, this is likely to be characterised as a Brexit loss in some quarters, coming after restrictions were introduced on UK investors buying its shares at the start of the year.

“Ryanair is desperate to be majority EU-owned in order to retain full licensing and flight rights in the bloc following the UK’s exit from the EU.”