Bain Capital's $3.5bn buyout of Virgin Australia leaves little for unsecured creditors

Priority creditors and employees will be paid in full but bondholders owed A$2bn will receive between 9-13% of what they are owed

Aircraft operated by Virgin Australia on stands at Sydney Airport. Australia's second-biggest airline, which has been rescued from administration by Bain Capital, currently has a fleet of 144 planes - 44 directly-owned and 100 that are leased or financed. Bloomberg
Aircraft operated by Virgin Australia on stands at Sydney Airport. Australia's second-biggest airline, which has been rescued from administration by Bain Capital, currently has a fleet of 144 planes - 44 directly-owned and 100 that are leased or financed. Bloomberg

Virgin Australia Holdings unsecured creditors will receive an average of 9-13 per cent of funds owed as part of US private equity group Bain Capital's proposed purchase of the airline, administrator Deloitte said in a report on Tuesday.

The unsecured creditors include 6,500 bondholders who are owed A$2 billion ($1.43 bn/Dh5.27bn) by the country's second-biggest airline and will receive 8.4-12.8 per cent of the outstanding amounts, less than the 14.4 per cent that will be paid to critical suppliers.

Priority creditors and employees will receive 100 per cent of funds owed, the report said.

The Bain deal will be voted on at a meeting of creditors on September 5. Creditors were owed around A$7bn when the airline in April entered voluntary administration, Australia's closest equivalent to the US Chapter 11 bankruptcy regime.

Unsecured bondholders Broad Peak and Tor Investment Management on Friday withdrew plans to propose a rival debt-to-equity recapitalisation deal they had said would provide a higher return, leaving the Bain deal as the only real option apart from liquidation.

Deloitte said in a statement that Bain's total financial commitment was around A$3.5bn, which includes all employee entitlements paid, all customer travel credits honoured, assumption of a significant portion of secured debts and aircraft lease liabilities and a return to unsecured creditors.

Deloitte said its investigations found no breach of directors' duties before the airline entered administration, which it said was driven by a catastrophic reduction in capacity in response to Australia's travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under Bain's business plan, Virgin plans to cut a third of its workforce as part of an overhaul to focus on being a domestic and short-haul international Boeing 737 operator competing against Qantas Airways.

Virgin's fleet consists of 144 planes, 44 of which are owned and 100 leased or financed, but some of the leased planes will be returned to lessors, Deloitte said.

Published: August 25, 2020 06:49 PM

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