Virgin Atlantic ‘set for $230m aircraft sale and leaseback’

Virgin Atlantic is poised to secure a $230 million cash injection through the sale and leaseback of two Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

A leasing company owned by US private equity giant Bain Capital will provide the funding.

The money will be raised through the sale and leaseback of two Dreamliners to Bain subsidiary Griffin Global Asset Management.

Bain acquired sister carrier Virgin Australia after it collapsed last year and is a co-investor in Virgin Voyages.

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Most of the new funding is believed to have been earmarked to repay hedge fund Davidson Kempner after it stepped in with lifeline support for the airline last summer amid the global Covid-19 crisis.

About $70 million will be left over to support Virgin Atlantic as it faces travel restrictions remaining in place longer than previously expected.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “On 4 September, Virgin Atlantic completed the privately funded, solvent recapitalisation of the airline to ensure that we continue to provide essential connectivity and competition to customers in the UK and beyond.

“We continue to explore financing opportunities to strengthen our balance sheet, as already provided for in the recapitalisation.

“In partnership with Griffin Global Asset Management, on closing, this financing opportunity regarding two of our 787s will allow us to pay down debt and further improve our cash position going into 2021.

“With the implementation of testing regimes, a reduction in UK quarantine policy and the mass roll out of vaccines on the horizon, customer demand for travel in 2021 has been gradually returning.

“Meanwhile, on the back of a record 2020, Virgin Atlantic Cargo continues to keep global supply chains running.

“We are confident that Virgin Atlantic will emerge from the Covid-19 crisis a sustainably profitable airline, with a healthy balance sheet.”

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