Virgin Australia’s administrators at Deloitte will have a better sense of which parties are interested in buying the beleaguered airline, when non-binding indicative offers are made on Friday.
Nineteen parties interested in buying the airline, which entered voluntary administration last month, were granted access to a data room after signing confidentiality agreements as of Monday, according to an affidavit published by the Federal Court of Australia.
Private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Oaktree Capital Management and BGH Capital are among the firms that have expressed interest in the purchase, Reuters has reported.
The Queensland state government could emerge as a serious contender after submitting a plan to rescue Australia’s second carrier through either a direct equity stake, a loan, guarantee or another financial tool.
This has come even as the federal government has refused to bail out Virgin Australia, with Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack saying the solution must be market, not government, led.
The airline has debts of nearly $7 billion and its creditors are expected to be asked to accept a “haircut,” or payment of less than they are owed, to keep the airline operational.
It stood down 8,000 staff last month to try and stay afloat but went into freefall on the back of strict coronavirus travel bans.
The company is 90 per cent foreign owned with Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Chinese conglomerates HNA Group and Hanshan owning 80 per cent between them while Richard Branson’s Virgin Group still owns 10 per cent.
More than 15,000 jobs, many based in Queensland, are at risk should a decision be made to carve off assets to service the airline’s debts.
The administrators have stated their intention to agree a deal with a buyer by the end of June.