Virgin deadline day: Deloitte receives eight indicative offers

written by Adam Thorn | May 15, 2020
Virgin Australia flies Boeing 777-300ERs from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Boeing 777-300ERs from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. (Rob Finlayson)

Virgin Australia’s administrator has said it expects to receive eight indicative offers ahead of its 6pm deadline.

Deloitte said nearly 20 interested parties had been granted access to the data room and eight to a “Virgin 2.0 business plan”.

Lead administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said there was “plenty of competitive tension” during what he termed an “aggressive process”.

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“It’s one we are confident we can achieve,” said Strawbridge. “Our objective remains to deliver a revitalised, viable, and profitable airline under new ownership.”

The business said it would assess the bids over the next few days before creating a shortlist of three parties to participate in the next stage of the process.

Binding offers are not required until 12 June, with a resolution expected by the end of that month.

The state of Queensland, the most high-profile party, is rumoured to have opted out of today’s deadline but will go further than the $200 million on the table in order to safeguard the airline’s Brisbane base.

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Strawbridge said, “Up to now, we’ve certainly seen a high level of interest from a significant number of high-quality parties, many of whom are capable of completing a transaction of this size and complexity.

“There is plenty of competitive tension, and that’s what’s needed to drive the best outcome, an outcome that preserves as many jobs as possible, and the best result for all creditors.”

Aside from Queensland, rumoured parties include a joint bid between Canadian investor Brookfield and Macquarie, billionaire mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, private equity firm BGH Capital, Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, Global PE giant Bain Capital and India’s InterGlobe Enterprises.

Earlier on Friday, Australian Aviation reported that Velocity Frequent Flyer members will be able to redeem their points on domestic flights from 1 September, after previously freezing the service when Virgin Australia entered administration.

The business, which is separate to the airline, said in a statement it was “hopeful” coronavirus travel restrictions and border closure would be lifted in July, in line with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s three-step lockdown exit plan unveiled last week.

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14 Comments

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Clearly there are some excellent well credentialed runners in the Virgin handicap and shortly they will be racing! Thankfully we had a late scratching which does assist the track and that leaves us with a problem, the odds are all pretty short but for my money and our countries benefit it has to be BGH by a country mile.

  • Anton

    says:

    If Virgin wants to succeed with going out of administration, they should go back to a low cost carrier and a Boeing 737 fleet only.

    • Marcel

      says:

      VA’s problem is attracting the lucrative business market around the 5 capitals. This is where the cream is made. Without a proper business class on domestic flights, they’re stuffed.

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    Low cost defeats the whole purpose as it leaves QF as the only full service carrier who could then charge whatever they want, and with Qantas Business Travel, the official govt travel agent, already giving the vast majority of govt travel to QF then that would hurt the taxpayers. One of VAs problems was that all the high profit govt business was being directed to QF by public servants who didn’t want to miss their QF points. If a fair policy that directed staff to use the cheapest fare available was in force then VA would be a lot healthier. But I do think their flights to the US and HKG must go.

    • Stu Bee

      says:

      Actually, any government travel booked through QBT was pretty equally shared to both VA and QF. The bookings had to be the best fare at the similar time as requested – trust me…. I’ve had plenty of VA flights booked because they offered a slightly cheaper option on flight that was within 30mins of the request.

    • Martin

      says:

      I agree with Stu Bee. Federal government public servants are required to explain why they may need to select a fare that isn’t the lowest price. If any public servant is scamming the system for their own benefit, they should be held accountable. I haven’t seen any sign of this in my area or work. Furthermore, government travel needs to be approved by someone (or several) higher up in the chain so anyone misusing the system for their private travel would normally be identified unless the ‘rot’ is more widespread in a part of any organisation. This surely applies equally in the private sector. I don’t think government travel would make or break any airline in Australia. Just my view.

  • Scott

    says:

    Agentgreko
    I agree a commission/review should be called and from that a new government independent travel agent created with NO direct financial links to any carrier, and all accounts and all departments DIRECTED to be allocated 50/50 over the entire industry.
    That’s a fairer distribution than what’s happening now.

  • Paul

    says:

    I think that the plan to invest smartly at this time when deals can be made with leases etc is a very smart move.
    Why retreat at this time? Move forwards, onwards and upwards.

  • Michael

    says:

    Apparently now some public servants are allowed to earn ff pts on work related travel.

    No public servant should be able to do this.

    There should be strick budgets on what they can spend.

    If planned weeks ahead, huge sums can be saved on airfares alone.

    Virtually no public servant needs an expensive flexible air ticket & none should have access to private lounges.

    Lastly many public servants, try to organise 5 min “very important” (NOT) meetings on Friday mornings, so they can have a weekend away so their wife or husband can join them. They fly home Monday.

    This rort should be stopped also.

  • Gary

    says:

    AGENTGERKO – whilst Virgin at times had the cheapest fare available, quite often you ended up paying more if your scheduled changed at the last moment, as happened to me a number of times. QF may have costed more upfront ; however, a fully flex fare with QF was quite often less than VA.

  • Rais

    says:

    Low cost would be effective. Qantas started Jetstar because Virgin Blue was taking away it’s economy passengers. It would do so again if it were slightly better than Jetstar. Qantas can charge what it likes in business class, who cares? As an ex public servant I know most public servants fly economy if they have to fly.

  • Kim

    says:

    Administrators should be sacking staff, cancel plan leases, and renegotiating rent.
    Do it now to get more from the sale.
    This is way it is in Admin.
    Very bad administrators

  • Neil

    says:

    Virgin will need to cut their Airline in half to survive.An all 737-800 fleet,sell off the Wide bodied 777-300s and airbus A330s.No international flights.Then concentrate on flights between all the Capital cities

  • John Gyz

    says:

    Are the new owners absorbing the enormous debt of Virgin? The only way to go is to wipe the slate clean and start afresh with a new brand so the investors are not having to pay the huge franchise fee for the Virgin brand.
    FF points belong to whoever is paying for the tickets, i.e. government. The points can then be used of future government travel and thus safe taxpayers money.

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