Singapore ready to sell Virgin stake

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The Independent Online

Singapore Airline declared itself open to offers for its 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic yesterday, but would not make any comment on whether any bidders have approached the airline. Singapore Airlines bought 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic for £600m in 1999.

Deutsche Bank is conducting a strategic review of Virgin Atlantic as it battles to compete with rivals teaming up on routes, and its founder Sir Richard Branson has indicated he could be prepared to relinquish control of the airline.

However, Shukor Yusof, a Singapore-based airline analyst for Standard and Poors, said that buyers might find Virgin Atlantic's geographical footprint challenging because most of the airline's routes are transatlantic while most of the industry's growth is now coming from Asia.