Virgin Australia issues $425 mln notes to fund Velocity acquisition


Virgin plans to also offer A$ notes soon

Airlines says has obtained FIRB approval for Velocity acquisition

Updates throughout with more detail on US dollar notes, planned issue of A$-denominated notes, background on Velocity deal

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd VAH.AX said on Friday it had priced $425 million of unsecured notes and planned to offer Australian dollar denominated notes in "the near term", both to fund the buyback of its Velocity frequent flyer programme.

Virgin also said that it had received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy back the 35% of Velocity that it does not already own from private equity group Affinity Equity Partners for A$700 million ($477.33 million).

The purchase, announced last month, will give Virgin greater control over a division that generates positive cashflow as the airline seeks to boost revenue after reporting its seventh consecutive annual loss.

Velocity is Australia's second-largest airline loyalty programme, behind that of rival Qantas Airways Ltd QAN.AX, with 9.8 million members as of June 30.

Virgin said the U.S.-dollar denominated five-year notes were priced on Thursday, New York time, and were due to be settled on Nov. 7. It did not give details of the pricing.

IFR News reported the launch was increased from a planned $400 million to $425 million, priced at 8.125%.

($1 = 1.4665 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru Editing by Chris Reese and Jane Wardell)

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