Dunstone and O'Leary cash in shares

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The Independent Online

Two of the best-known figures in the business world, Michael O'Leary and Charles Dunstone, yesterday cashed in on the rising stock prices of their respective companies by selling off some of their shares.

Two of the best-known figures in the business world, Michael O'Leary and Charles Dunstone, yesterday cashed in on the rising stock prices of their respective companies by selling off some of their shares.

Mr O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, netted £26m from the sale of 6 million shares while Mr Dunstone, the founder and chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, made £10m from the sale of a 2 per cent stake - the first time he has sold any of his shares since the company floated five years ago.

The sale by Mr O'Leary cuts his stake in Ryanair to 4.6 per cent, although with 35 million shares he remains the airline's biggest single shareholder.

Ryanair shares, which hit a 16-month high of €6.75 at the start of the week, closed 2 per cent down at €6.52, valuing the airline at €4.9bn (£3.3bn) and Mr O'Leary's remaining stake at €228m .

This is the first time the Ryanair chief executive has disposed of any shares since June 2003. He caused surprise then by raising £17m from the sale of 4 million shares just a week after stating that he had no intention of cutting his stake.

The proceeds from the 2003 share sale were used to help pay for Mr O'Leary's marriage later that year to the Citigroup banker Anita Farrell. No reason was given for yesterday's share sale.

When Ryanair floated in 1997 Mr O'Leary owned a 14.1 per cent stake but he has progressively reduced his shareholding.

Mr Dunstone declined to say what he planned to do with the proceeds from his sale. Apart from being a keen yacht owner, Mr Dunstone is not known for a lavish lifestyle. A bachelor, Mr Dunstone, 40, is thought most likely to be planning to buy a new boat.

A statement from the company said Mr Dunstone had no "current intention" to sell any more shares. Mr Dunstone still has a 34 per cent holding worth £510m. The shares were bought by the company's employee share ownership trust. Carphone Warehouse shares rose 5p to 171p.

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