Virgin Australia Finds a Buyer

US private equity firm Bain Capital has won the bid to buy Virgin Australia after the airline fell into administration in April, due in part to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Being bought by the Boston-based company puts the carrier one step closer to re-launching.

Administrators, Deloitte said in a press statement that “Virgin Group will now work closely with Bain Capital on its vision for the business moving forward.”

Virgin Australia
The Australian carrier holds a fleet of 77 Boeing 737-800s, most of which are grounded as a result of the virus. Flickr Commons/Bernard Spragatt

Paul Scurrah, the airline’s chief executive officer and managing director, commented: “This is a great day for Virgin Australia and a huge milestone as we move forward with Bain Capital.

“[The firm] has spent many hours over the past weeks speaking to us and getting a deep understanding of our business and working to secure a deal with our administrators. We know they are committed to investing in the airline and we are thrilled to be working with them into the future.”

Australia’s second largest carrier was struggling with long-term debt of AU$5bn (£2.5bn) that pre-dated the coronavirus crisis.

Skywest Airlines operated this single Airbus A320 on behalf of Virgin Australia Regional from 2010 to 2013. Virgin Australia

The Brisbane-based operator is currently owned by a group of shareholders that include Sir Richard Branson and Singapore Airlines.

The sale, which is expected to be completed in August, is subject to regulatory approvals.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Deloitte said that it anticipated “no return to shareholders” and that “it is not possible to determine the estimated return to creditors”, of which there are 13,000 who are collectively owed nearly $7bn (£3.9bn).