Etihad has increased its equity in Virgin Australia to 13.4 per cent, making the Middle East carrier now the third largest shareholder.
In a move foreshadowed by Etihad CEO James Hogan last month, Etihad used provisions in the corporations law to progressively acquire more shares on the market, which it is entitled to do up to a three per cent cap each six months. This week’s transaction lifted Etihad’s share in Virgin Australia by one per cent, at a value of $11.78 million according to a filing with the ASX.
Under the same provisions, Air New Zealand will increase its holding to 25.9 per cent from the current 22.9 per cent, while Singapore Airlines holds 19.9 per cent.
The increase in Etihad’s shareholding has further diluted Richard Branson’s equity to 12.47 per cent. With Air New Zealand and Etihad looking to increase their stakes and Singapore Airlines a recent investor, it is expected any further acquisitions by airlines will write down even further Branson’s holding.