Foreign carriers increase stakes in Virgin Australia to almost 70 percent
Virgin Australia's largest shareholders Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand will increase their stakes in the airline to almost 70 percent as part of a $351.5 million capital raisin
Virgin Australia’s largest shareholders Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand will increase their stakes in the airline to almost 70 percent as part of a $351.5 million capital raising.
Retail shareholders took up just 25.3 percent of the entitlement.
The announcement has angered rival Qantas and pushed its shares two percent lower to 97 cents after touching an all time low of 96 cents on Thursday.
Qantas has complained for weeks about an uneven playing field in the Australian aviation market as Virgin is not restricted on foreign investment.
Chief executive Alan Joyce has been lobbying the federal government to block Virgin’s equity raising.
Virgin’s three foreign shareholders already own 63 percent of the airline and they are expected to increase their combined stakes to around 67 per cent.
Air New Zealand is expected to hold the largest stake, at just over 24 percent and Singapore and Etihad will boost their respective stakes to just above 21 percent.
Virgin founder Richard Branson owns around 10 percent.
Retail shareholders will raise $17.5 million as part of the entitlement.
Virgin said the balance of 136.4 million remaining shares would be issued to the underwriters and the sub-underwriter of the retail entitlement offer.
Air New Zealand had agreed to sub-underwrite the offer and Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines had agreed to increase their exposure to Virgin through cash settled derivatives.
Virgin conducted the raising at 38 cents a share, which was one cent higher than Wednesday’s closing price.
A Qantas spokesman said the move meant Virgin Australia was now almost 80 per cent foreign owned after receiving more than $300 million from state-owned enterprises.”
“But it has all of the international traffic rights reserved for majority Australian-owned carriers,” Qantas said.
At the close of trade Virgin shares rose one cent to 38 cents while Qantas shares fell two cents to 97 cents.