Virgin Galactic shares plunge after Branson rules out further investment

Wealth

In this photo illustration, British billionaire Richard Branson is seen on a fragment of a Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Spaceflight Livestream Youtube video displayed on a smartphone with the Virgin Galactic logo in the background.
Pavlo Gonchar | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Virgin Galactic shares plunged more than 14% in premarket trade on Monday, after British billionaire Richard Branson ruled out further investment in the company.

In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, Branson said that his sprawling business empire no longer has “the deepest pockets” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that Virgin Galactic should have “sufficient funds to do its job on its own.”

As of around 5:55 a.m. ET, Virgin Galactic shares dropped 14.1% in out-of-hours trading.

The company, founded by Branson in 2004, last month announced job cuts and the suspension of commercial flights for 18 months from the start of 2024.

The cost-cutting is part of a plan to save cash to develop a larger aircraft, dubbed Delta, that aims to take passengers to the edge of space. The group estimated that its current funding would carry it through to 2026, when Delta is scheduled to enter service.

Virgin Investments remains the second-largest shareholder in Virgin Galactic, according to LSEG data, with a 7.69% holding, behind the 8.43% of State Street Global Advisors.

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