Irish budget carrier Ryanair has raised gross proceeds of nearly €400m through a non-pre-emptive placing of new ordinary shares.

The move is part of the company’s strategy for greater financial flexibility to capitalise on significant post-Covid-19 growth opportunities.

A total of 35,242,291 new ordinary shares in the company have been placed by J&E Davy at a price of €11.35 per placing share.

Prior to the placing, the shares represent around 3.2% of the company’s issued share capital.

In a statement, the company said: “So far, 2020 has proven to be the most challenging period in Ryanair’s 35-year history and an unprecedented difficult environment for the wider European airline sector.

“The group believes that it has responded well and that the current environment is likely to result in long-term impacts for the sector which it expects will create opportunities for Ryanair to grow its network, and expand its fleet, to take advantage of lower airport and aircraft cost opportunities that are likely to arise.

“The placing is expected to help better position the group to move quickly to capitalise on such opportunities should they arise.

“Additionally, the placing should significantly de-risk the group’s debt repayments over the next 12 months.”

In May, Ryanair revealed plans to return to 40% of normal flight schedules from 1 July.

In a separate development, airline Virgin Atlantic is reportedly considering cutting more than 1,000 jobs.

Additionally, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is planning to reduce around 900 jobs, or 4.5%, of its workforce.