Bain Capital, the owner of Virgin Australia, announced on Wednesday that it was considering re-listing the airline on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX); the airline is forming a “small internal team” to be ready for the move.
In an email to employees at a town hall meeting, Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that the team would be focusing “exclusively” on promoting Virgin’s float.
Australian Financial Review obtained the memo at the same time Bain Capital announced it would “shortly seek guidance on a potential future IPO and re-listing” of the airline.
Bain Capital, a private equity company based in the United States, issued a statement claiming: “advisors will report to Bain Capital on the optimum timing, structure, and metrics to return Virgin Australia to the ASX when the time is appropriate.”
It noted that “no decisions have been taken as to when or even if any IPO will occur.”
A Bain partner in Sydney, Mike Murphy, said the company would think about “how best to position Virgin Australia for sustainable growth and long-term success” in the coming months.
“While there is currently no set timetable, at some point in the future, if any IPO does happen, Bain Capital would welcome public market investors joining as shareholders in what is a great Australian company,” he remarked.
“Bain Capital intends to retain a significant shareholding in a future IPO of Virgin Australia.”
In September 2020, after Virgin had gone into bankruptcy, Bain purchased the company for AU$ 3.5 billion.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has called for the airline’s employees to be given priority in any upcoming float.
Michael Kaine, the national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, said it was high time Virgin recognised its employees’ hard work.
“Virgin’s passionate and loyal team has stuck with the company through tough times and fought tirelessly under great workload challenges to ensure the business returned as a strong competitor,” he added.
“With a float on the horizon, employees must be compensated for their critical part in the company’s success.”
While the TWU applauded Virgin’s offer of a bonus profit share programme and increased award payments, it said that “there is now work to be done to enhance circumstances for aviation employees who have given so much for the company.”