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Air NZ tops up to keep Virgin stake at 19.99%

Air NZ keeps Virgin stake at 19.99% as Singapore Airlines joins owners

Nov. 19 (BusinessDesk) - Air New Zealand has kept its stake in partner airline Virgin Australia, buying 49.1 million shares to retain ownership at 19.99 percent after Singapore Airlines joined the shareholder register.

New Zealand's national carrier made the transaction at the same time as Singapore Airlines was issued a 10 percent stake in Virgin, it said in a statement. No dollar figure was put on the purchase, which at today's trading price equals some A$23.81 million.

Last month, Singapore Airlines paid A$105 million for a stake in Virgin, which was subsequently used to buy 60 percent of Tiger Airways and all of Skywest Airlines.

Virgin issued 245.6 million shares to Singapore Airlines at an issue price of 42.88 Australian cents apiece, meaning Air NZ had to buy more shares to prevent its own stake being diluted.

Air NZ said its purchase of Virgin shares equated to 2 percent of the Australian airline's stock.

The New Zealand carrier's shares rose 2.9 percent to $1.24 in trading today, and have rallied 34 percent this year. Virgin's last traded at 48.5 Australian cents on the ASX.


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