Sir Richard Branson set to relinquish control of Virgin Atlantic with surprise float to repair company’s finances
Sir Richard Branson is set to relinquish control of Virgin Atlantic with a surprise stock market float to repair the company’s finances.
The tycoon, 71, would see the 51 per cent stake he owns through Virgin Group slashed if the airline joins the London Stock Exchange, unless he subscribes for new equity. KLM owns the remaining 49 per cent stake.
The airline has been one of the hardest hit in the pandemic due to its reliance on flights to the US.
Tall order: Sir Richard Branson would see the 51 per cent stake he owns through Virgin Group slashed if Virgin Atlantic joins the London Stock Exchange
Last year it put administrators on standby before the firm was rescued with a £1.2billion package, which required £200m of injection from founder Branson. It also raised £300m from the sale of several Dreamliner aircraft and a further loan from Virgin Group, according to Sky News. The airline has almost halved its workforce to 5,700 staff.
Stocks in listed long-haul rivals, such as BA-owner IAG, remain far below their pre-pandemic levels, meaning any shares are likely to be sold at a major discount compared with two years ago.
Virgin hopes it can persuade investors it will bounce back once transatlantic travel starts up again.