EasyJet poised to join FTSE 100

EasyjetThe promotion of low-cost airline easyJet to the FTSE 100 Index will be confirmed this week after a record run for its share price.

Luton-based easyJet is the London market's 82nd largest company and with a value of £4 billion will be large enough to earn a place among the ranks of blue-chip companies in the latest quarterly review of FTSE indices.

Its shares closed at a record high of 1017p on Friday, having stood at just under 400p when Carolyn McCall took over as chief executive in July 2010.

The company, which joined the stock market in 2000, has benefited from an improved operational performance and the launch of allocated seating, which helped it attract 10 million business passengers last year.

EasyJet has consistently beaten City expectations for profits but a long-running war of words with founder and major shareholder Sir Stelios Haji Ioannou has overshadowed some of its recent success.

Sir Stelios, whose family holds around 36% of the company's shares, has been unhappy at plans to place a large order for a fleet of more fuel-efficient aircraft.

At its recent annual meeting, the entrepreneur was unsuccessful in a vote against the company's remuneration report and re-election of Sir Mike Rake as chairman.

Sir Mike has already said he will leave the company in the summer because easyJet's promotion to the FTSE 100 Index will conflict with his role as chairman of another blue-chip company, BT Group.

FTSE Group will disclose on Wednesday which companies will enter and leave the top flight at the end of the following week, based on the market values at the close of trading the previous night.
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