In March of this year, Air New Zealand had announced plans to sell 25.9% percent of its stake in Virgin Australia. Nanshan Group bought their share for $262 million making it one of the investors in the Australian carrier. Others include Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, China group HNA and Sir Richard Branson Virgin group.
China’s Nanshan Group buys 20% of Virgin Australia from Air New Zealand
Nanshan’s recent 19.9% stake is pending regulatory approval but if all goes smoothly, Virgin has agreed to give Nanshan a board seat in the company. Kiwi airline is considering buying the remaining 2.5 percent stake from Air New Zealand in due time.
In the meantime, Nanshan is gearing up to present its nominees for board representatives to Virgin Australia for which the company will analyze and consider in keeping with their methodologies and policies.
“We look forward to meeting with Nanshan Group over the coming weeks to discuss the proposed acquisition," Virgin said in a statement.
"We believe Nanshan Group will be a very strong, positive and complimentary shareholder for Virgin Australia," Air New Zealand chairman Tony Carter said. "The sale will allow Air New Zealand to focus on its own growth opportunities, while still continuing its long-standing alliance with Virgin Australia on the trans-Tasman network".
Nanshan is for the most part a privately owned Chinese conglomerate that runs and owns Qingdao Airline, a small Chinese airline. Nanshan also owns a small private jet businesses and has shares in other sectors including agriculture, aluminium, property and education.
Albert Wong, chief advisor of Nanshan in Australia says the company has been looking forward to expand tourism opportunities within Australia for months and had already been in discussions with Air New Zealand about this once it bought its stake in the carrier.