Etihad Airways has again raised its stake in Virgin Australia, and now holds almost one-fifth of the airline at 19.9% – the maximum currently allowed under Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.
The Gulf carrier and cornerstone partner of Virgin made its first investment in Virgin Australia in June 2012, paying an estimated A$37.5m for a 3.96% stake, and just three months later more than doubled that to 10%.
Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan has always been supportive of Virgin Australia and John Borghetti's strategy, and said that today's move "reflects our strong support for the business strategy and management team of Virgin Australia and our enduring commitment to the Australian market."
Another of Virgin's key partners, Air New Zealand, last week received FIRB approval to take its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to 25.9%, up from the current 22.9%, while April saw Singapore Airlines purchase a tranche of shares from Richard Branson's Virgin Group to boosts its own stake to 19.9%.
Between them, Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines now hold 62.7% of Virgin Australia's parent company, with Air NZ's approval to claim another 3% representing almost two-thirds ownership of Virgin by the three foreign carriers.
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