Air New Zealand buys Virgin Blue shareholding

Air New Zealand has acquired a substantial shareholding in Virgin Blue Airlines, the airline having notified the Australian Stock Exchange and New Zealand Stock Exchange that it has made the move part of a planned acquisition of a shareholding between 10% and 14.99%.

Air New Zealand chief executive officer Rob Fyfe says there is no intention to make a takeover bid for Virgin Blue, something he confirmed to the Australian airline’s chief executive, John Borghetti.

Air New Zealand has obtained Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval to purchase up to 14.99% percent of Virgin Blue; a shareholding which it believes will keep the total foreign ownership of Virgin Blue within the statutory limit of 49%. Virgin Group, based in the UK, has a 26% shareholding.

“The investment in Virgin Blue is part of Air New Zealand’s strategy to develop scale and reach in this region. The Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue was the first step in this strategy. This investment cements the emerging relationship between our two airlines and demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Blue both as an entity and as a partner for Air New Zealand,” Fyfe commented.

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