Virgin Australia bondholders seek permission to put forward sale alternative

Virgin entered voluntary administration in April. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Virgin Australia Holdings bondholders have applied to the Takeovers Panel for approval to allow them to make an alternative proposal to creditors for the sale of the airline to private equity group Bain Capital, the panel said on Monday (July 6).

Singapore's Broad Peak Investment Advisers and Hong Kong's Tor Investment Management are also seeking interim orders allowing them to access information including the terms of the Bain transaction, the panel said in a statement.

Bain last month agreed with Virgin's administrator Deloitte to buy Australia's second-biggest airline for an undisclosed sum, banking on an aviation industry recovery.

Deloitte selected Bain over a bid from private equity group Cyrus Capital Partners and a debt-to-equity swap proposed by the group of unsecured bondholders owed A$2 billion (S$1.93 billion).

Virgin entered voluntary administration in April owing nearly A$7 billion to creditors, including the bondholders. The Bain deal will be subject to a vote by creditors at a meeting in August.

The bondholders have said certain circumstances regarding the administrator's sales process are unacceptable and have the effect of precluding them from presenting an alternative proposal at the meeting, the panel's statement said.

In an affidavit filed last week, Virgin administrator Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte said the airline would not have enough funds to continue to trade until the August meeting in the absence of interim funding provided by Bain.

Bain declined to comment while Deloitte did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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