Business & Investment

Sir Richard Branson did not mortgage his island

Sir Richard Branson’s beloved Caribbean island home has so far escaped a major financial review of his empire, despite warning a millionaire on the firing line.

Necker Island was widely interpreted as a signal that he was ready to make a personal sacrifice when the crisis struck and his employees accepted the reduction, and Virgin Group employees last April. Blocked by Branson at the public address to the member.

In response to “comments about my home” and net worth, he said he had moved to 74 acres of Necker Island “for his love for the beautiful British Virgin Islands”, not for tax reasons.

Paradise: Richard Branson is playing with Neckar on a private island. He proposed taking out a mortgage to secure a loan to support the Virgin Group.

He added: “Like any other virgin asset, our team collects as much money as possible on the island to save as much work as possible around the group.”

However, a document from the British Virgin Islands, obtained by email on Sunday, shows that the founder of the billionaire Virgin Group has not yet taken out a loan to the island during the pandemic.

The 70-year-old tycoon instead injected more than $ 350 million into the catastrophic travel and leisure business after selling shares in the Virgin Galactic space travel business.

This included a £ 200m cash injection into Virgin Atlantic as part of an investor’s £ 1.2bn bailout plan completed last September.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic, whose staff faced an early wage cut, reduced 4,300 jobs, or 45% of the workforce, and Virgin Active, a gym chain that employs 2,400 in the UK, is a lender and Discuss as much as possible with the landlord. Restructuring.

This includes Branson, who owns 20%, investing more money, along with co-owner Brate, a South African investment firm managed by former billionaire Christoffel Wiese. there is a possibility.

Sources say Branson may have to promise Virgin Atlantic more of his estimated $ 7.9 billion in property, as long-term travel bans raise fears of the airline’s long-term survival. Suggested.

Sir Richard Branson's private island, Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands

Sir Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands

Under a crisis plan prepared last summer, Virgin Atlantic directors said that airlines would raise more cash and even more cash if passenger flights remained “restricted” until August 1, this year. He warned that he would need to undergo a “significant restructuring.”

Last week, restructuring company Alvarez & Marsal warned that expectations for a summer recovery in air travel were “shattered” by new travel restrictions.

“Without decisive action by stakeholders in the major sectors, the bankruptcy of the weakest airlines will accelerate,” he added.

According to one aviation official, Virgin Atlantic is a British airline and has the slowest recovery after the vaccine is introduced, as revenues are heavily dependent on long haul and travel.

Sources said: “There is no light for long-haul flights at the end of the tunnel. There is no light until autumn, so the virgin summer season is wiped out.”

Virgin Atlantic, 51% owned by Branson through a British Virgin Islands-based investment firm, will be held after parent company Virgin Atlantic (including Virgin Holidays and freight business Virgin Cargo) earned £ 29.5. I was facing confusion even before the outbreak. Million losses in 2019.

One aviation official said Virgin Atlantic is the

One aviation official said Virgin Atlantic is the “highest risk of failure” British airline.

The airline, led by CEO Shai Weiss, has created a three-year turnaround plan called “Velocity” to stabilize the airline and regain profits.

However, Covid-19 has upset the recovery, and in April last year Branson requested the government for a £ 500m taxpayer support loan, which was rejected.

In a letter to the staff, he said: “I’ve seen a lot of comments about my net worth, which are calculated based on the value of virgin companies around the world before this crisis and are placed in cash in a bank account ready for withdrawal. not.”

Profit was often reinvested in the group, he added.

Branson’s wealth has skyrocketed since the beginning of the year after US-listed Virgin Galactic, which holds a 27% stake, more than doubled its value to $ 12.7 billion.

Last week, we announced a test flight of SpaceShipTwo Craft VSS Unity and that traders from sites such as Reddit were in stock.

Meanwhile, Branson announced Thursday that it will invest $ 25 million in genetic testing company 23andMe as part of a reverse merger with New York-listed investment firm VG Acquisition.

Branson purchased Necker Island for $ 180,000 from the aristocratic Viscount Kobam in 1979. He had previously financed the island to support the Virgin Group’s business. Most recently, it raised $ 10 million in 2001 from Liechtenstein-based lender VP Bank. Land registration document submitted in the Caribbean Sea and seen by email on Sunday.

Branson's wealth has skyrocketed since the beginning of the year after US-listed Virgin Galactic, which holds a 27% stake, more than doubled its value to $ 12.7 billion.

Branson’s wealth has skyrocketed since the beginning of the year after US-listed Virgin Galactic, which holds a 27% stake, more than doubled its value to $ 12.7 billion.

It is understood that the virgin business he supported through his Necker Island mortgage included development in the British Virgin Islands. In the British Virgin Islands, Branson has built a luxurious eco-resort that employs 175 people. He also owns the adjacent Mosquito Island, which he purchased in 2007.

Last month, Virgin Atlantic raised an additional $ 230 million by selling and leasing back two 787 Dreamliners used to reduce debt and increase cash.

Further possible financing routes for airlines include mortgages or sales of over 2,000 takeoff and landing slots at Gatwick Airport, financing from point card programs, or the use of intellectual property.

Branson founded Virgin Atlantic on a single plane 37 years ago, and last year said competition with fierce rival British Airways “must remain fierce for the benefit of great customers.”

In 2012, Branson bet £ 1 million on then-BA boss William Walsh, and Virgin Atlantic is famous for being five years from now.

Walsh accepted it, but changed his stake to a “groin knee.” He argued that £ 1m wouldn’t be a painful loss for the billionaire Virgin boss.

Virgin Atlantic owned 30% of the regional airline Flybe, which went bankrupt last March.

A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said that the freight business Virgin Cargo will enter a “record year” in 2020, and passengers will say “2021” as the mass deployment of vaccines and pre-departure testing system will increase confidence overseas. I’ve been booking travel since the year. ” Travel.

A spokeswoman added: “With the continued support of our partners and shareholders, we are confident that Virgin Atlantic will emerge as a sustainable and profitable airline from the Covid-19 crisis.”

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Sir Richard Branson did not mortgage his island Sir Richard Branson did not mortgage his island

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