News Soaring out of Administration – The Virgin Australia Restructure Story

16 September 2021

RITANZ is proud to be hosting the following webinar on 28 September 2021: In March 2020, Virgin Australia Airlines was dramatically impacted by travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

RITANZ is proud to be hosting the following webinar on 28 September 2021:

In March 2020, Virgin Australia Airlines was dramatically impacted by travel restrictions due to COVID-19. What was once a $6 billion turnover business experienced a 95% drop in domestic revenue almost overnight and an immediate shutdown of all international operations. Deloitte were appointed administrators on 20 April 2020, with the goal of making sure this airline survived.

Deloitte, along with its advisors, Houlihan Lokey and Clayton Utz, completed a substantial operational and financial restructure of the business during the administration. In parallel with an operational restructure, a rapid sale campaign resulted in the sale of the business to Bain. The sale was completed on 17 November 2020. With the transaction, Virgin successfully exited voluntary administration, being one of few companies of their size and scale to do so. Virgin was given a second life, and the chance to re-establish itself as an iconic Australian airline.

There were also a multitude of innovative legal applications and hearings to effect the restructure.

At this event, the administrators will tell the story of how Virgin was restructured, sold and successfully exited from administration in the midst of one of the most challenging operating environments ever. 

Sal Algeri

National Restructuring Leader, Deloitte

Sal Algeri is the National Deloitte Restructuring Leader. He has extensive experience in supporting key stakeholders through independent commercial, strategic and financial reviews and supporting the implementation of strategic, financial and operational restructuring initiatives for businesses. 

Sal’s primary focus is to work with the stakeholders and management teams within corporates to rapidly address the improvement in financial performance. His experience covers a wide range of sectors and his assignments vary from crisis management situations, development of business plans and option analysis, and the implementation of performance turnaround strategies.

John Greig

Deputy Chairman, Deloitte Australia Board and Managing Partner, Deloitte Queensland

John is the Deputy Chairman of the Deloitte Australia Board and Managing Partner of Deloitte in Queensland.

Over his 26-year career as a Deloitte Partner, John has served the firm across most of its dimensions. As a Board member overseeing transitions of CEO and Chair, as the Qld Market Leader, as a national Business Unit Executive member, as a Qld Industry Leader, as a Lead Client Service and Advisory Partner on major accounts, as a National Operating Unit Leader and most importantly as a high performing client service delivery partner. 

Richard Hughes

Partner, Financial advisory Deloitte

Richard is the Lead Partner of the Queensland Restructuring Services team of Deloitte and has over 28 years’ professional experience at Deloitte including 20 years with our Restructuring Services team.  Richard specialises in restructuring distressed companies – both as a formally appointed external administrator, but also as an informal advisor to boards, shareholders, lenders and other major stakeholders.

Richard is a chartered accountant, and a member of the FINSIA, ARITA, TMA and AICD organisations.  He is also a registered liquidator.  Richard is a committee member of TMA in Queensland.

Richard’s work includes advising businesses on their operations, restructuring and improving performance.  He is regularly called to negotiate on behalf of clients arrangements with their banks creditors, landlords and other stakeholders and is a safe harbour advisor.

Richard led the teams that were awarded the National Small Business Turnaround of the Year both in 2015 and in 2018 from the Turnaround Management Association for their work with Withcott Seedlings and the Brisbane Broncos, respectively.

Richard has also variously been receiver, administrator or liquidator of a number of companies.  His major assignments have included Kleenmaid, Karen Millen, Riviera Marine, Bryan Byrt, Denmac Ford, Betta Electrical, Harts Australasia and Sam’s Seafood.  More recently Richard was one of the four administrators of Virgin Australia.

Jim McKnight

Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Restructuring Group

Mr. McKnight is a member of Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Restructuring Group. He has over two decades of experience in investment banking and restructuring in Australia and Asia. Mr. McKnight is a market leader in restructuring and recapitalisations, having led most major Australian and Asian restructuring transactions since 2000, advising corporates, lenders (bank syndicates and bondholders), and shareholders across a wide range of sectors.

Mr. McKnight’s notable restructuring engagements include Virgin Australia, Bluewaters Power, CF Asia Pacific, LakeCoal, Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, Bis Industries, BrisConnections, Griffin Coal, Griffin Power, Asciano, Centro Retail Trust, GPT, Pacific Brands, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, SK Global, Seiyu Group, Qenos Pty Ltd., Cross City Tunnel, Freightlink, Inc., Network Ten Pty Ltd., and Reliance Rail.

Prior to joining Houlihan Lokey, Mr. McKnight led the restructuring team at Fort Street Advisers as a Principal from 2013 to 2017 and was Head of Asia Pacific Restructuring and Head of Debt Advisory for Australia at UBS Investment Bank from 2002 to 2013. Prior to joining UBS in 2002, Mr. McKnight spent 12 years in the U.K. specializing in insolvencies, turnarounds, and restructurings.

Mr. McKnight holds a B.Acc. from the University of Glasgow and an MBA from Strathclyde Graduate Business School. He is also a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Timothy Sackar

National Practice Group Leader, Clayton Utz

With a strong international practice, Timothy Sackar specialises in business restructuring, distressed investing and insolvency. He is the National Practice Group Leader for the Restructuring & Insolvency Group as well as a leader of our Alternate Investment Funds practice.

Timothy has been involved in numerous significant matters in Australia, Asia and the UK, advising debtors, financial creditors, sponsors, bondholders and directors on all aspects of restructurings, workouts and cross-border insolvencies. He has extensive experience in advising on distressed investments and restructuring strategies generally, voluntary and compulsory insolvency regimes, trading of debt for distressed or par values and the sale of non-performing loan portfolios.

He also advises insolvency practitioners on their appointments, duties and the disposal of assets of the estate.


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