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Singapore Inc preparing for Virgin Blue bid?

24-Mar-2006

SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) Australia’s largest transport shakeup will provide some tantalising investment opportunities, as Toll Holdings bid for Virgin Blue majority shareholder, Patrick Corp gathers momentum.

One such opportunity is Virgin Blue, whose future is much less clear after Toll failed to give a clear indication on its plans for the budget airline. Previously, Toll announced it would reduce its shareholding in Virgin Blue if its successfully took over Patrick, selling the shares back to founder, Sir Richard Branson.

But the sale this week of Temasek’s shareholding in Qantas indicates Singapore Inc may be keeping its options open. Like Qantas and other transport groups, Temasek will be scouting for pieces of the Toll-Patrick jigsaw that don’t fit.

Virgin Blue, with its increasing focus on business travel under its ‘New World Carrier’ tag, strong Australian and South Pacfic network and potential Australia-US services (barred to Singapore Airlines) is a far more tantalising proposition than the last time Singapore Inc was sniffing around.

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