Branson's Virgin Atlantic plans London listing -Sky News

(Reuters) -Britain-based airline Virgin Atlantic is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange, Sky News reported on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: A British airways aeroplane tailfin and a Virgin Atlantic areoplane are seen with the control tower at Heathrow airport., London, Britain, May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Citing “City sources”, it said the airline founded by Richard Branson has received positive responses from institutional investors about an initial public offering, with an autumn announcement likely.

It said the move would almost certainly see Branson relinquish overall control of the business.

It added that Virgin Atlantic has hired Citi and Barclays to oversee the listing.

The airline is 51% owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and 49% by the U.S.’s Delta Air Lines Inc.

“We won’t be commenting on speculation,” said a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson.

Like most airlines, the firm has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April it reported a 659 million pound ($914 million) pretax loss for 2020 after passenger numbers dropped 80%.

Virgin Atlantic cut costs last year, shedding 41% of its workforce and retiring some older aircraft early.

($1 = 0.7209 pounds)

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