Singapore Airlines lifts stake in Virgin Australia to 19.9%

It boosts its influence at the carrier at a time of industry jostling to secure lucrative routes in Southeast Asia.

Air New Zealand Qantas Airways Singapore Airlines Virgin Atlantic

The purchase makes Singapore Airlines the joint largest shareholder in Australia’s No.2 airline, with Air New Zealand also owning a matching stake that is just under the limit allowed before a full takeover must be launched.

Australia’s airline industry has been a battleground for global airlines seeking partnerships in recent months, with Qantas Airways Ltd establishing a wide-ranging alliance with Emirates Airlines.

Singapore Airlines bought an additional 9.9 percent for A$123 million ($126 million) from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Branson will retain a 12.4 percent holding.

A spokesman for the company said it had no plans at this point to further increase its holding. The deal is subject to approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.