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Recent reports suggest that a significant rise in share values at three well-known Irish companies has made small fortunes for some of their key executives contrary to the economic trend here. Other beneficiaries include a number of farmers, small businessmen and pensioners.

Lucky investors in bookmakers Paddy Power and food company Glanbia have seen the value of their shares defy the global economic turmoil and rise to unbelievable levels. Even those with shares in Ryanair have watched the share price climb steadily although not as much as Paddy Power and Glanbia.

This jump in share prices has made paper millions for those who had the courage to stick with their investment, despite the depths of recession.

In the case of Paddy Power, the share price has jumped by nearly 270 per cent since the end of 2008. Glanbia share price, which has benefited from the boom in the agriculture sector, has risen more than 200 per cent in four years.

At the end of 2011, Ryanair announced half-year profits of €543.5m. While most of the shareholders are directors and executives, the sharp rise in all three companies share price has also made outside investors significant paper profits.

When the global economic crisis hit in 2008, all of the above named companies suffered significant share-price falls. However, these companies have now shown very strong recoveries since then for a variety of reasons.

Paddy Power decided to further develop its online betting and gaming offering and also broke into new markets around the world. Glanbia, due to the boom in the agriculture sector launched profitable new products. And Ryanair's continued ‘no-frills’ approach has meant that it has been able to remain profitable despite rising fuel prices and a weak economic environment.

And who are those individuals sitting on millions?

The shares of David Power, the bookmaker, were worth €145m at the end of March. Former managing director Pat O'Neill of Glanbia, and his wife Rosanna, had a combined €3m worth of shares, again at the end of March. There were also 140 named shareholders on Glanbia's register with an average of €100,000 worth of shares, including five paper millionaires.

And just look at Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary's 51 million shares in the airline. These are now worth a staggering €220m, a 70 per cent rise since 2008.

So while there is plenty of ‘doom and gloom’ out there, this still hasn’t stopped Paddy Power, Glanbia and Ryanair from prospering, with the added bonus of their share prices rising in line with their success.


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