Ryanair to be opportunistic in financing MAX jets, says CFO

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DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ryanair has no plans to tap the bond market to finance its Boeing 737 MAX deliveries but it is ready to move at short notice should attractive opportunities arise, Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan said on Thursday.

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, last May raised 1.2 billion euros ($1.27 billion) at a record low rate in a five-year bond sale with a coupon of 0.875%. It is due to take delivery of 150 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over the next three years.

“We continue to be opportunistic. Lowest costs will really determine what we’re going to do,” Sorahan told the Airfinance Journal conference in Dublin.

“Debt markets look like they might be the cheapest (option) for the next while,” he said.

But Ryanair will consider offers on secured debt or sale-and-leaseback as alternatives.

About 90% of Ryanair’s fleet of about 500 aircraft is debt-free and the airline hopes to increase that proportion further in the coming years, Sorahan said.

Ryanair has reduced its debt to 1.5 billion euros from 2.3 billion and its focus in the coming years will be to reduce that further, he said.

($1 = 0.9443 euros)

(Writing by Conor HumphriesEditing by David Goodman)