Virgin Atlantic announces a successful recapitalization

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

Virgin Atlantic has reached a major milestone towards securing its future on July 14, by announcing plans for a private-only solvent recapitalization of the airline, following the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the nation and the travel and aviation industry.

A Solvent Recapitalization of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has taken a big step forward in securing its future, by launching a court backed process as part of a solvent recapitalisation of the airline and holiday business, with a Restructuring Plan that once approved and implemented, will keep Virgin Atlantic flying.

The Restructuring Plan is based on a five year business plan, and with the support of shareholders Virgin Group and Delta, new private investors and existing creditors, it paves the way for the airline to rebuild its balance sheet and return to profitability from 2022.

The recapitalisation will deliver a refinancing package worth c.£1.2bn over the next 18 months in addition to the self-help measures already taken, including cost savings of c.£280m per year and c.£880m rephasing and financing of aircraft deliveries over the next five years.  

  • Shareholders are providing c.£600m in support over the life of The Plan including a £200m investment from Virgin Group, and the deferral of c.£400m of shareholder deferrals and waivers
  • Virgin Atlantic welcomes new partner Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, a global institutional investment management firm which is providing £170m of secured financing
  • Creditors will support the airline with over £450m of deferrals
  • The airline continues to have the support of credit card acquirers (Merchant Service Providers) Lloyd’s Cardnet and First Data.

To secure approval from all relevant creditors before implementation, the Restructuring Plan will go through a court-sanctioned process under Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006 (the “Restructuring Plan”). With support already secured from the majority of stakeholders, it’s expected that the Restructuring Plan and recapitalisation will come into effect late Summer 2020.

Decisive action underpins the Restructuring Plan

Global aviation was one of the first industries impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and will be one of the last to fully recover. From the start, the airline took decisive action to ensure its survival. In March, the Leadership Team took voluntary pay cuts and since April, more than 80% of the workforce has benefitted from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, supporting efforts to preserve cash and minimise costs. In Q2, flying fell by 98% and in the second half of 2020, capacity is expected to reduce by at least 60% compared to 2019, with pre-crisis levels of flying unlikely to return until 2023. With the suspension of passenger flying in April, the airline delivered an unparalleled network of cargo-only flying, operating more than 1400 cargo flights in April, May and June.

In May, the difficult decision was taken to reshape and resize in order to emerge from the crisis sustainably profitable, and regrettably the airline had to reduce the number of people it employs by 3,550 across all functions.

Having closed its London Gatwick base, while retaining a slot portfolio at the airport to protect opportunities for future growth, leisure flying is now consolidated at London Heathrow and Manchester. By 2022 Virgin Atlantic will fly the same number of sectors as 2019 despite its smaller scale, demonstrating productivity and efficiency improvements. The airline will operate a streamlined fleet of 37 twin engine aircraft following the retirement of 7 x 747s and 4 x A332s by Q1 2022, with rescheduled delivery of outstanding A350s and A339s.

 

Returning to the skies

From July 20, 2020 Virgin Atlantic will restart passenger flying and has a vital role to play in supporting the UK economy as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays will continue to support global supply chains and flying customers safely to the places they love to travel. While demand will be slow to recover, Virgin Atlantic will ensure its customers always feel confident to fly by continuing to prioritise the health, safety and security of its people and customers throughout their journey. Sustainability remains central to the airline, and its simplified fleet will be 10% more efficient than it was pre-crisis.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

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