Virgin Australia has decided not to privatise after suggesting it was a possibility last November and will instead offer thousands of small investors a way out by buying their shares.

“After discussions with major shareholders, the Board has decided not to privatise the company,” said Virgin Chairman Elizabeth Bryan.

“However the Board remains conscious that the company has a small free float and a register made up of 38,000 shareholders, of whom approximately 21,000 hold unmarketable parcels worth less than $500.”

Most of Virgin’s shares are owned by five international airline groups; Singapore Airlines, Etihad, HNA Group, Nanshan Group and Virgin Group.

The airline posted its best results in a decade, making $4.4m after tax for the six months to December 31, 2017.

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