Virgin Australia’s administrator has told the first meeting of shareholders that there are now 20 parties interested in buying the airline – up from 10 confirmed last week.
Deloitte expects to have all offers on the table in just two weeks’ time and is “confident” a sale can be achieved by the end of June.
It comes as The Australian Financial Review has revealed that mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has emerged as a potential buyer.
Vaughan Strawbridge, who is overseeing the process, said, “I’ve been encouraged by the level of sophisticated party interest in the sale of Virgin Australia.”
On Thursday, a virtual meeting open to 1,300 creditors herd bullish predictions for the future of Virgin Australia.
Already, eight bidders have signed non-disclosure agreements and have access to Virgin’s figures, and a further 12 parties are negotiating.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims the current management will hand interested buyers access to a relaunch masterplan on Tuesday.
It comes as the AFR named Forrest, who controls Australia’s third-largest miner Fortescue Metals, as a potential suitor.
Other names in the running include BGH Capital, Indigo Partners, Wesfarmers, American distressed debt specialists Oaktree, and Canadian asset manager Brookfield.
Strawbridge said in a statement released on the ASX on Thursday, “We are now moving quickly to finalise a business plan to help guide interested parties and, in terms of next steps, mid-May is the time frame for the receipt of indicative offers. Binding offers will then be required in June. We remain confident that our target of achieving a sale by the end of June is achievable.
“We remain strongly focused on restructuring the business, creating a viable business operation that will appeal to prospective new owners, and bringing Virgin out of external administration as soon as possible in an outcome that will retain jobs and the airline’s contribution to Australia and its economy.”
On Monday, Australian Aviation reported that Perth Airport impounded four Virgin aircraft with heavy machinery as it seeks to recover $160 million in outstanding debt.
The next day it was revealed Velocity Rewards, which ultimately oversees the frequent flyer business, was also seeking $150 million. The airline group confirmed its collapse last week.
For more of our in-depth coverage, click the links below:
- Velocity Frequent Flyer points have been paused, but won’t be cancelled;
- Sir Richard Branson hits out at the Australian government as he pays tribute to Virgin staff;
- The TWU and opposition urges the government to make a ‘bold’ move to save the airline;
- Australia’s states have entered an apparent bailout bidding war to help Virgin Australia – on the condition the reborn business shifts its base away from Brisbane.