Singapore Air boosts Virgin stake

AFP-JIJI

Virgin Australia on Wednesday said Singapore Airlines had agreed to buy a further 9.9 percent stake in the company for 122.4 million Australian dollars ($125.6 million) as rivals to Qantas step up their game.

The Singapore flag carrier will purchase 255.5 million shares held by the Virgin Group at 48 cents each, taking its total holding in the Australian domestic airline to 19.9 percent, Virgin said.

The purchase, which follows the taking of a 10 percent stake last year, still needs the approval of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board even though it remains below the threshold of 20 percent at which a full takeover bid must be launched. If it goes ahead, Singapore will become one of the top three shareholders along with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Air New Zealand.