After raising nearly $306 million for its initial public offering Thursday, Virgin America, which is trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol VA, shot up more than $5 a share Friday. After opening at $23 a share, the airline jumped almost 25 percent in the first hour of trading. The company is now worth $1 billion, CNNMoney reported.
The IPO, priced at the upper end of its expected $21-$24 range, gives Virgin’s U.S. airline offering a valuation of $993.6 million. The airline is perhaps best known for offering top amenities on flights including onboard Wi-Fi, interactive video displays, leather seats and swanky purple lighting. The IPO also comes during what many analysts are calling a boon for American airlines. Delta is up more than 60 percent this year, and New York-based JetBlue has climbed almost 50 percent. Declining fuel costs have done nothing to decrease ticket prices, and U.S. consumers are still buying tickets.
While Virgin America shares a name with billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, the British magnate is only a minority shareholder. Hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners is a major shareholder in the business while Branson’s Virgin Group owns about 22 percent of the airline’s voting stock. Branson, through VX Holdings LP, will own a 24.8 percent stake in the airline after the offering.
Virgin America reportedly earned $10.5 million on revenue of $1.42 billion in 2013, its first profitable year since it started flying in 2007. The airline lost $395 million from 2009 through 2012.
The New York Times’ DealBook reported that as part of the IPO, the Virgin Group and Cyrus plan to sell around $52.1 million in shares in the airline to PAR Capital, which is also a hedge fund, at a per-share price 4 percent lower than the IPO price.
Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities were among the underwriters of the offering, Reuters reported.