Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Etihad Raises Virgin Australia Stake

 Abu Dhabi's flag carrier Etihad Airways has raised its stake in Virgin Australia to 10 percent through open market purchases, the state airline said in a statement on Sunday.
Etihad, founded eight-years ago, received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to increase its stake from five percent to 10 percent, it said in the statement.
Etihad has already bought stakes in three other carriers -- Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles and Air Berlin -- in a push to chase the big Gulf state-backed airlines such as Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Based on Virgin Australia's current market value, the stake is worth about USD$100 million. The airline had previously said it was keen to increase its Virgin Australia stake to at least 10 percent.
But the airline does not plan to acquire a majority stake in Virgin Australia, Etihad's President and chief executive James Hogan said in the statement.

 Virgin Australia is 26 percent owned by Richard Branson's Virgin group and 20 percent by Air New Zealand.
Etihad began flying to Australia in 2007 and along with Virgin Australia they operate 24 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Australia.

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