Five Per Cent Of Virgin Australia Was Sold Yesterday And Air NZ Could Be The Biggest Shareholder Again

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti and Sir Richard Branson pshare a light hearted moment after holding a press conference at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth. Photo: Getty/Paul Kane

Yesterday 125 million Virgin Australia shares were traded, and it looks like Air New Zealand was one of the buyers, regaining its spot as the airline’s major shareholder.

Jamie Freed and Anthony Macdonald at the AFR reported that unnamed sources suggested Air New Zealand bought the 3%, with the other shares purchased by institutional investors.

The shares were sold at 47.5 cents each, in three block trades through the Chi-X exchange, according to Bloomberg.

Virgin was down 1.1% at the close yesterday to 46 cents.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said the company does not comment on trading activity.

If Air New Zealand did actually buy a 3% stake, it would take its holdings to 22.9%

That’s ahead of Singapore Airlines, which owns 19.9%. Air New Zealand would also own more than Etihad Airways, which has 9.9%.

There’s been talk that Etihad was going to the Foreign Investment Review Board to get permission to buy more Virgin Australia shares, but News Limited has reported that’s probably not the case right now.

Instead its focusing on buying more of India’s Jet Airways, with Etihad’s chief executive telling The Australian the company was happy with its 9.9% stake “at the moment.”

“Once the Jet deal is over we’ll see what we can do moving forward working with Virgin,” he said. “Virgin are holding their board meeting in Abu Dhabi in July so we have a strong relationship with John Borghetti, the board; the focus hasn’t changed,” he told the Aus.

Now read: Alan Joyce Busts Out Some Quality Aviation Sector Trash Talk

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