June 20, 2013 / 9:09 AM / 4 years ago

Ryanair to return 1 bln euros to shareholders over next 2 years

DUBLIN, June 20 (Reuters) - Ryanair plans to return up to 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to shareholders over the next two years through share buybacks and a possible special dividend, the Irish budget airline said on Thursday.

A sharp rise in earnings from add-on charges for items such as baggage and pre-assigned seating helped Ryanair to increase net profit 13 percent to a record 569 million euros in the year to March.

The company, which does not pay a regular dividend, will buy back at least 400 million euros worth of shares by March 2014 and will return a further 600 million euros in the 12 months after that, provided that fuel costs and profitability remain stable, it said in a statement.

In a statement issued ahead of meetings with investors, Ryanair also confirmed plans to boost its growth of passengers carried to 7 percent per year from 5 percent, with the aim of boosting numbers to 110 million by 2019 from 80 million last year.

Ryanair has returned 1.5 billion euros to shareholders since 2008, including a 492 million euro special dividend during its last financial year.

Ryanair shares were up 3.7 percent at 7.23 euros at 0850 GMT.

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