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Ryanair’s Stock Falls On Lowered Guidance

The stock of Ryanair (RYAAY) has slipped 1% after the Irish airline lowered its profit guidance.

The airline, which is the biggest in Europe by passenger numbers, has forecast an after-tax profit of between 1.85 billion and 1.95 billion euros ($2 billion U.S. to $2.1 billion U.S.) for its current financial year that runs until March 31, 2024.

The new forecast is down from a previous estimate of 1.85 billion and 2.05 billion euros but would still beat its previous record of 1.45 billion euros set back in 2018.

The lowered guidance comes amid a dispute Ryanair is having with online travel agents.

The carrier has launched legal action against several travel agents, accusing them of adding illegitimate charges to sales of its airline tickets.

In retaliation, the online travel agents stopped selling Ryanair’s flights last December, forcing the company to cut fares to fill seats.

The sudden halt of sales by online travel agents forced Ryanair to stimulate bookings over Christmas and has now led to the reduced outlook, the company said.

Consequently, Ryanair’s net profit for the three months to Dec. 31 was 15 million euros, significantly lower than the 49 million euros expected by analysts who cover the company.

Still, Ryanair’s traffic in the third quarter was up 7% to 41.4 million passengers, while average fares increased 13% from a year earlier.

The airline forecast that capacity on its flights this coming summer could be 93% of pre-Covid-19 levels or lower due to the ongoing issues with online travel agents.

Prior to today, Ryanair’s stock had risen 42% over the last 12 months to trade at $130.11 U.S. per share.

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