Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange. This is coming just five months after landing a fresh £160m capital injection.
The airline has received positive responses from institutional investors about an initial public offering, according to Sky News. The move would almost certainly see Sir Richard relinquish overall control of the business.
According to reports, Virgin Atlantic has hired Citi and Barclays to oversee the listing. Virgin Atlantic is majority-owned by Sir Richard’s Virgin Group, which holds a 51% stake. U.S Delta Air Lines owns the remaining 49%.
Selling shares to the public would inevitably mean Virgin’s stake being diluted unless Sir Richard elected to subscribe for new equity in the IPO.
Like most airlines, the company was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, largely because of its dependence on lucrative UK-US flights. In April 2020, the company reported a 659 million pound ($914 million) pretax loss for 2020 after passenger numbers dropped 80%.
Virgin Atlantic has also reduced its workforce since pandemic started – a move that has helped to drive significant longer-term cost savings.
Going public would bring the company into line with many of its publicly traded peers, such as British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group, easyJet, Ryanair, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
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