By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — No-frills airline Ryanair is to raise £100 million in a share placing to fund the purchase of 10 new Boeing 737s and to develop its new Internet booking service.
The company’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, is also cashing in on the success of the company and plans to sell five million of his shares which will net him about £35 million.
O’Leary currently owns about 10.8 percent of the company, worth about £250 million.
Ryanair is due to take delivery of the first five new aircraft in May and June with the second five being delivered in December and January 2001.
The company says the funds may also be used to exploit opportunities to buy secondhand aircraft over the next two years as it believes there will be significant opportunities in the market.
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The Ryanair.com site got more than 24 million hits last month — its second month in operation — and bookings are running at 50,000 seats a week.