Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways have raised their combined stakes in Virgin Australia to 67%.
This came after only a quarter of Australian retail shareholders took up entitlements as part of a A$350 million capital raising.
Air New Zealand, SIA and Etihad had owned a combined 63% before the capital raising.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group took up rights to maintain its 10% stake but did not increase its holding.
The move came just days after rival Qantas announced 1,000 job cuts after announcing that it expected to make a first-half underlying pre-tax loss of up to A$300 million.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce had reacted angrily to the foreign airline investment in Virgin Australia while Qantas is restricted from being majority foreign-owned.
A Qantas spokesman told the Australian Financial Review that the end result of the Virgin raising highlighted the airline’s argument the playing field was uneven.
“Virgin Australia is now almost 80% foreign-owned after receiving more than A$300 million from state-owned enterprises but it has all of the international traffic rights reserved for majority Australian-owned carriers.”
Virgin has split its international operations into a separate company that is majority Australian-owned but Qantas has called it a “sham”.
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