Etihad Airways ups its stake in Virgin Australia to maximum limit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Etihad Airways lifted its stake in Virgin Australia to the maximum approved limit by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Etihad Airways ups its stake in Virgin Australia to maximum limit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways lifted its stake in Virgin Australia to the maximum approved limit by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Etihad raised its stake in the Australian airline to 22.9 cent after purchasing 1.7 cent of shares, reported newspapers the Australian Financial Review and The Australian on Saturday.

Etihad’s President and Chief Executive, James Hogan, was also appointed a non-executive director to the Virgin Australia board last week, according to a statement on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

Etihad declined to comment on the stake increase and board appointment on Sunday.

Etihad previously held 21.24 percent and appears to have increased its stake under creeping provisions from the FIRB. Etihad will have to seek approval from the FIRB if it is to increase its stake further.

Virgin Australia offered a board seat to Etihad after it backed a $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) capital investment last year. Board seats were also offered to its other major airline investors, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. The three airlines control around 70 percent of the Australian airline.

James Rigey, Etihad’s chief financial officer, has been appointed as an alternate director to Virgin Australia, according to the airlines company information section on the ASX.

Darwin Airline

Swiss authorities said on Saturday they want more information from Etihad Regional (formerly Darwin Airline) over plans for Etihad to buy a third of the Swiss airline before it is willing to approve the deal.

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (BAZL) has given Etihad Regional until the January to answer questions about the resources Eithad wants to invest in the airline, Reuters reported.

Etihad announced the rebranding of Darwin Airline as Etihad Regional, and plans to buy 33.3 per cent of the airline, last November.

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