SIA open to offers for Virgin stake
Singapore, June 6, 2011
Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on Monday it is open to any offers for its 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic, but would not comment if any bidders have approached the airline.
"I think we have been quite open. We have stated that we are open if somebody is interested in the 49 percent stake in Virgin," said Goh Choon Phong, SIA chief executive.
"They can make an offer and we will evaluate it and we will make decision based on that."
Singapore Airlines bought a 49 per cent of Virgin Atlantic for 600.25 million pounds ($990 million) in 1999.
Shukor Yusof, a Singapore-based airline analyst for Standard and Poors, said buyers might find Virgin Atlantic's geographical footprint challenging because most of its routes are transatlantic while most of the industry's growth is now coming from Asia.
SIA's Goh also said the company is also not opposed to mergers and acquisition possibilities and would look at future opportunities.
Virgin Atlantic's founder, Richard Branson, has reportedly said that his airline needed a partner to remain competitive.
Virgin Atlantic may need to merge with a rival or join an airline alliance to survive the competition created by the advent of cross-border super carriers.-Reuters