Friday, 27 May 2011

Virgin Atlantic expects to unveil new partnership within months


VIRGIN boss Sir Richard Branson said yesterday up to three suitors of his Virgin Atlantic airline are set to bid for a stake in the company, with an announcement on the tie-in due within the next three months.

Branson, speaking at an event in the States, said he will remain involved with the carrier as a shareholder, even if he decides to sell down some of his stake to a new partner.

He added that Singapore Airlines, which holds a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic, has not yet decided whether to offload some of its holding as part of the reshuffle.

Virgin hired Deutsche Bank earlier this year to look at options for shoring up the carrier’s position in the industry as its rivals team up on routes to save resources.

British Airways and American Airlines recently joined forces on some routes over the Atlantic, with BA in turn benefitting from synergies with new partner Iberia.

Branson’s remarks come less than a day after he said in an interview that his banking operation, Virgin Money, is gunning for around 600 branches owned by Lloyds Banking Group to make the firm a big contender on the high street.

A total Virgin sell out is unlikely,  although it’s known within the industry that Branson is looking to off load some of the ‘Virgin airline brands worldwide. 

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