Etihad boosts Virgin stake

Middle Eastern airline further lifts hold on Australian carrier.

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways has further lifted its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH).

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Virgin said its third largest shareholder had increased its stake to 14.45% after a previous increase to 13.41% last week.

Etihad spent just over $12 million for the 26.76 million shares, at 44.99 cents per share.

The Middle Eastern airline has said that it plans to increase its Virgin stake to 19.9%, which would bring it in line with the Australian carrier's second-largest shareholder, Singapore Airways.

Air New Zealand remains Virgin Australia's largest shareholder, with a 22.9 per cent stake.