October 24, 2019 / 10:44 PM / 25 days ago

Virgin Australia issues $425 million notes to fund Velocity acquisition

FILE PHOTO: Aircraft from Australia's second largest airline, Virgin Australia, sit on the tarmac at the domestic terminal of Sydney Airport in Australia, August 19, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

(Reuters) - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (VAH.AX) said on Friday it had priced $425 million of unsecured notes and planned to offer Australian dollar denominated notes in “the near term”, both to fund the buyback of its Velocity frequent flyer programme.

Virgin also said that it had received approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy back the 35% of Velocity that it does not already own from private equity group Affinity Equity Partners for A$700 million ($477.33 million).

The purchase, announced last month, will give Virgin greater control over a division that generates positive cashflow as the airline seeks to boost revenue after reporting its seventh consecutive annual loss.

Velocity is Australia’s second-largest airline loyalty programme, behind that of rival Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX), with 9.8 million members as of June 30.

Virgin said the U.S.-dollar denominated five-year notes were priced on Thursday, New York time, and were due to be settled on Nov. 7. It did not give details of the pricing.

IFR News reported the launch was increased from a planned $400 million to $425 million, priced at 8.125%.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Jane Wardell

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