Virgin Australia Owners Consider ASX Relisting

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Bain Capital, the US-based private equity firm and owner of Australia’s second-largest airline carrier, announced its plans to relist Virgin Australia back in the ASX. The firm notes that this move is part of its more comprehensive plan for continued growth and long-term prosperity.

Virgin Australia was acquired by the equity firm in 2020 when it entered voluntary administration. And on 16 January of this year, Bain Capital announced that it would start seeking advice on a future initial public offering (IPO) and relisting the airline company.

Mike Murphy, a Sydney-based partner with Bain, noted, “In the coming months, we will consider how to best position Virgin Australia for continued growth and long-term prosperity. It is Bain Capital’s current intention to retain a significant shareholding in a future IPO of Virgin Australia.”

Bain Capital did stress that there were no formal decisions yet, with Murphy adding that “While there is currently no set timetable, at some point in the future, if any IPO does happen, Bain Capital would welcome public market investors joining us as shareholders in what is a great Australian company.”

The announcement supports Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka’s commentary in an interview last June 2022 that the company’s goal is to be publicly listed. In November, Hrdlicka reported that the company had returned to making profits.

Virgin then invested heavily in its fleets, increasing its 737 fleets by over 60 per cent and has already ordered fuel-efficient Max 8s and Max 10s in anticipation of its projected growth. 

The company started sending requests for proposals on the listings to several investment banks and has named boutique firm Reunion Capital as its financial advisor on the deal. This will allow Virgin Australia management to focus on their roles 100 per cent, removing any distractions from the preliminary deliberations. “It is Bain Capital’s current intention to retain a significant shareholding in a future IPO of Virgin Australia,” Murphy notes.

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