Ryanair announces return to profit

<p>Ryanair has raised its full-year net profits to between €840 million and €850 million.</p>

Ryanair has announced a return to profit following a strong performance in the final three months of 2014.

The Irish budget airline announced a revision of its full-year net profits to between €840 million and €850 million (£632 million and £640 million), up from the previous forecast of between €810 million and €830 million. Ryanair stated that it is expecting traffic to increase by around 25 per cent in the three months to March 30th while falling oil prices will reduce costs by five per cent.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, commended the results stating that they highlighted the company's increased focus on customer service. Mr O'Leary said: "These strong results confirm that our “Always Getting Better” customer programme and our expanded business schedules, coupled with our substantial fare and cost advantage over competitor airlines is drawing millions of new customers to Ryanair."

Aer Lingus situation

Ryanair currently holds a 29 per cent stake in the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus. The company has been the subject of a number of takeover approaches by British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG). Last week saw IAG make its latest bid which was considered by the organisation.

Aer Lingus has previously rejected bids from IAG but it stated it was willing to discuss the new €1.36 billion approach. For the deal to be pushed through both Ryanair and the Irish government need to give approval, the latter holding a 25 per cent share in Aer Lingus. Ryanair itself has had takeover bids turned down.

The company said that while the takeover deal was still ongoing, it confirmed that it had not received a formal offer for its holding. However, it did say that if one was to come that it would be carefully considered.

Ryanair's share price opened 3.17 per cent down on Monday (February 2nd).

Keep up-to-date with the Aer Lingus takeover deal at City Index.

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