By Anthony O. Goriainoff and Ian Walker

 

EasyJet PLC said Wednesday that the planned purchase of more than 50 Airbus SE aircraft announced last month was approved by shareholders at its general meeting, with 99.95% of votes cast supporting the deal.

On June 21, the budget airline said it was buying 56 Airbus A320neo family aircraft from Airbus SE and converting 18 A320neo family aircraft into 18 A321neo aircraft. Based on average 2018 list prices, the total value of the new aircraft would be $6.5 billion, but easyJet said at the time that it will pay a "very substantially lower" price due to certain concessions granted under the original 2013 agreement with Airbus.

The new aircraft are due for delivery between 2026 and 2029, while the conversions are due for delivery between 2024 and 2027.

"The board believes the aircraft purchase will support positive returns for the business and the delivery of our strategic objectives. We're pleased with the strong support that shareholders have shown today by approving the resolution," Chairman Stephen Hester said Wednesday.

The company's founder and largest shareholder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, had previously called on easyJet's board to cancel the 4.5 billion-euro ($4.6 billion) order, arguing that the company couldn't afford the aircraft as the payment dwarfed easyJet's market capitalization.

Since then he had tried, and failed, to remove key members of the board over the issue.

The Haji-Ioannou family concert party shareholding, which includes easyGroup Holdings Ltd. and Polys Haji-Ioannou, own 15.27% of the company's issued share capital, according to its 2021 report and accounts.

Haji-Ioannou founded easyJet in 1995 and listed the airline on the London Stock Exchange in 2000. Through easyGroup, he is the creator and owner of the easy family of brands, which includes easyHotel PLC, easyCar and easyGym.

Shares at 1044 GMT down 8.90 pence, or 2.3%, at 384.70 pence.

 

Write to Anthony O. Goriainoff at anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com and Ian Walker @ian.walker@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 20, 2022 07:11 ET (11:11 GMT)

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