Etihad Airways has confirmed the airline has increased its stake in Virgin Australia to the maximum allowed 22.9 per cent.
Representatives of the Abu Dhabi-based carrier and Virgin alliance partner released a statement to the Australian stock exchange on Tuesday afternoon outlining the purchase of 60.56 million shares for 43.5 cents per share.
The A$28.34 million transaction, made on November 21 and reported in The Australian Financial Review over the weekend, lifted Etihad’s stake in Virgin to 22.9 per cent – the limit set by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board – from 21.24 per cent previously.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan was elected to the Virgin board at the Australian-based carrier’s annual general meeting on November 19.
Hogan told shareholders via a pre-recorded video message Etihad was not just a shareholder in Virgin but also a “long-term and active investor”.
“We are committed to playing an active role in supporting Virgin Australia, which is both a quality provider of safe air travel and a robust participant in the Australian market,” Hogan said.
Virgin’s three other major shareholders comprise Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and the Virgin Group.