Bain Capital may seek to relist Virgin Australia

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Bain Capital said on Monday (16 January) that it is looking to relist Virgin Australia, a move that comes as the domestic aviation market bounces back strongly from its pandemic lows. A listing of the country’s second-biggest airline would likely be one of Australia’s largest IPOs in 2023 after capital markets activity plunged last year amid global financial market uncertainty.

“In the coming months we will consider how to best position Virgin Australia for continued growth and long term prosperity,” Mike Murphy, a Sydney-based partner at the U.S. private equity firm said in a statement. “It is Bain Capital’s current intention to retain a significant shareholding in a future IPO of Virgin Australia.”

Bain said it would seek advice on the best timing and structure to return the airline to the Australian Securities Exchange but added that no decisions had been made as to if and when that would happen.

It sent a request for proposals on the listing to investment banks on Monday and expects to make appointments within a month, according to a Reuters report. Aviation market conditions have improved substantially since then after Australia’s state and international borders reopened. Virgin has also rebuilt its Boeing 737 fleet to around the same size it was before the pandemic.

“Virgin Australia had a proud history as a public company. While there is currently no set timetable, at some point in the future, if any IPO does happen, Bain Capital would welcome public market investors joining us as shareholders in what is a great Australian company,” Murphy said. “Bain Capital will ensure these preliminary deliberations are not a distraction for Virgin Australia management, who can remain 100 per cent focused on their roles,” he said.

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