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Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Change Hands

Deloitte Restructuring Services partners, and joint Virgin Australia Voluntary Administrators Vaughan Strawbridge, John Greig, Richard Hughes and Sal Algeri today announced the completion of the sale of the Virgin Australia Group, with the shares and the entire business of the airline being transferred to Bain Capital.

Announcing the milestone, lead administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said: “Today is an important day for the future of Virgin Australia as Bain Capital takes custody of the airline after one of the most challenging administrations in Australia’s corporate history, not least as a business, an employer of thousands of people, and a key contributor to national and state economies. Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a process like no other in Australian corporate history.

“This has been a very complex insolvency appointment further complicated by the fact that the process was undertaken and completed during Australia’s Covid-19 shutdown. Since our appointment on 20 April this year, the approach we have taken, including how the sale was structured, has involved significant amounts of work and innovative approaches to a wide range of tasks and issues, many of which have not been encountered previously in either Australian or international market contexts.

“We have certainly had our fair share of challenges, but we have remained focused – undertaking a process with the objective of ensuring the business continued, to maximise job retention and ensuring the best outcome for all creditors.”

On behalf of the Deloitte team, Strawbridge said: “The successful conclusion of the administration is a tribute to the assistance and support given to our team by Virgin Australia’s dedicated, hard working and loyal management and staff, who kept the airline flying throughout, the unions who supported them and Virgin’s service providers, all working together to ensure that Australia’s aviation sector will remain vibrant and competitive in the post-COVID era.

“In such extraordinary circumstances, with the COVID-19 induced crisis impacting every airline in the world, it was critical we conducted a process to protect the business and create a platform for its restructure and re-emergence from administration. It was clear from the start we needed to achieve a market-led solution for the airline.”

Acknowledging his fellow administrators, John Greig, Sal Algeri and Richard Hughes, Strawbridge said: “We have done everything in the administration together, every decision, every step, and been supported by our amazing teams who we are so very proud to work with. As well, a special mention to my fellow Deloitte Restructuring Services partners, David Orr, Grant Sparks, Tim Heenan, Matt Donnelly, Sam Marsden and Kathryn Evans, who have played an important role in getting us to where we are today.”

Strawbridge also thanked the Virgin Australia management team and all Virgin Australia staff: “It goes without saying that these have been extraordinarily difficult circumstances under which they have continued to work, not least the patience they have shown while on stand down from normal operations. There is an amazing culture at Virgin and it has continued to shine, and will no doubt be intrinsic to the airline’s future.

“We also thank the unions that have supported their members and worked with us throughout this difficult period, and of course, we could not have continued to trade without the support of, and agreement with, lessors and financiers, service providers to the business and partners. The Federal Government also played a critical role with its industry support package and underwriting of certain key flights which has been essential to operations, and we thank them for that.”

Iuliia Tore