Air New Zealand has kept its stake in partner airline Virgin Australia, buying 49.1 million shares to retain ownership at 19.99% after Singapore Airlines joined the shareholder register.
New Zealand's national carrier made the transaction at the same time as Singapore Airlines was issued a 10% stake in Virgin, it says in a statement. No dollar figure was put on the purchase, which at today's trading price equals some $A23.81 million.
Last month, Singapore Airlines paid $A105 million for a stake in Virgin, which was subsequently used to buy 60% of Tiger Airways and all of Skywest Airlines.
Virgin issued 245.6 million shares to Singapore Airlines at an issue price of 42.88 Australian cents apiece, meaning Air NZ had to buy more to prevent its own stake being diluted.
Air NZ says its purchase of Virgin shares equated to 2% of the Australian airline's stock.
The New Zealand carrier's shares rose 2.9% to $1.24 in trading today and have rallied 34% this year. Virgin's last traded at 48.5 Australian cents on the ASX.
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