Aviation

Turkish Airlines eyes 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia

Turkish Airlines has shown interest in buying HNA Group’s stake in Virgin Australia as it looks to grow its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bloomberg has reported Turkey’s national carrier is one of the companies looking to buy HNA’s 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia, according to people close to the matter who have asked not to be named.

HNA has been open to offers for its 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia in an attempt to cut debt, with Singapore Airlines and Nanshan Capital, who each currently control about a fifth of the company, also rumoured to be eyeing off the Chinese conglomerate’s slice.

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Turkish Airlines have told Bloomberg that the reports “do not reflect the truth”. Travel Weekly has approached Virgin Australia but the airline has declined to comment.

The most recent figures show Etihad Airlines currently has the majority stake in the airline with 21 per cent, followed by Singapore Airlines with 20 per cent, Nanshan with 19.9 per cent and HNA Group’s 20 per cent.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group holds 10 per cent.

This comes as the airline confirms the co-investor of its Velocity Frequent Flyer program is looking to offload its 33 per cent stake in the program.

Virgin Australia has also warned it expects its FY19 earnings to be at least $100 million down compared to its $6.44 million FY18 results despite posting its best half-year result in more than a decade earlier this year.

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