Virgin Galactic IPO is on Monday 🚀

I’m slightly surprised to see this, it’s an exciting concept but it seems like the project’s still in fairly early stages, as they haven’t completed their first flight with passengers from the general public on board yet. Has there been any news that makes this a little bit less speculative than it seems?

https://www.cityam.com/sir-richard-bransons-virgin-galactic-to-float-on-new-york-stock-exchange-on-monday/

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They don’t attract the same media attention as Space X but they’ve been making great progress

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This is a very interesting company for me, generally I don’t invest in tourism businesses due to a lack of any real understanding (even the holiday’s I take are very muted.) However, this is something very different. There are lots of comparisons to make, but really, is this a completely new type of experience.

I’ve been reading this Guardian write up and had a few thoughts.

Aside from the fact the “listing” was less of an IPO and more of a take over (confused me when I saw they had a year worth of trading history!) No one seems to have any real stance on the company yet. This is the main reason why it’s not in our rankings yet, lots of missing data points we need.

The core of what they hope to offer is a half day experience where you will experience weightlessness for 10-20 minutes. Keep in mind this is a 2020 Q1-2 offering, and is also not something new.

However the real goal is a true space experience, the first real intergalactic holidays. It will be interesting how Virgin plans to achieve this without constant fund raising, they have already entered into a few commercial partnerships for countries space flight, e.g. they are working alongside SpaceX and a few others on some big projects now. The low hanging fruit (if such a thing exists for space agencies) is commercial applications and logistics handling, and this has very different needs to transporting people and creating once in a lifetime experiences.

For now this seems interesting but still a long way from their goal, even with the interest they have collected they are only offering an existing service just with the Virgin branding.

If they can turn this into a truly unique packaged experience I would have a lot more confidence, but it doesn’t seem like they have enough for today.

It’ll be interesting to understand why being listed was so important for them, only time (or leaked documents) will tell.

I always love businesses that help push as forward as a species, and this could be one of those business, for now I’m happy to wait and see.

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The Astronaut Readiness Program is a preparatory course that all of Virgin Galactic’s passengers undertake before they can get their trip…

To date, Virgin Galactic has 600 customers signed up to fly aboard its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, which launches from a customized cargo jet aircraft to reach sub-orbital space and provides customs with a 90-minute flight, for a $250,000 ticket.

This training is also with Under Armour as they are the partner for the uniforms. Potentially some good upside for Under Armour if this works out well, depending on their agreement with Virgin they could compete for other space suit contracts.

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I find this quite interesting, not just from an investment perspective. Who knows if one company will win the race to space but I’d say there is plenty of room up there for them for multiple companies to operate in different ways.

Could be the start of the next step in travel since commercial flying took off.

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Looks like demand is high

Another interesting point in the article:

Virgin Galactic saw its losses widen in the three months to December, compared with a $46m loss in the same period in 2018.

However, this doesn’t sound surprising given Virgin brought an existing firm which was listed and turned it into Virgin Galactic. I’m not sure how meaningful the past accounts will be now it’s effectively working under a new brand/management.

Still, the age of space tourism is ahead of us! :waxing_gibbous_moon: Very exciting times!

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Speaking of Virgin and their brands.

While they aren’t accepting handouts and actively looking for loans, it’s still a very tough time for all of them. As Branson mentions, most of the Virgin brands are part of the worst hit industries right now.

Offering his island as collateral is a bold move, seems more for show than anything, I doubt anyone would be interested in getting a tourist island if the loan defaults. I’m sure they would rather just take the hotels and aeroplanes!

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Bit of light in these dark times.

Virgin Orbit (they focus on sending small satellites into space) have had their ventilators approved for use.

Hopefully this helps save some lives.

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Very early as it’s just signed agreements to start working together but an exciting prospect none the less!

[Virgin] said it would sell up to 25 million shares to raise money for the Virgin Group’s struggling leisure businesses

[Virgin] intends to use any proceeds to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.

Looks like no other attractive financing could be found.

Failure to launch?

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Big launch coming up this weekend, I expected the outcome will influence investor confidence.

After the issues with Virgin group and Virgin Galactic being the one of the few listed Virgin brands, it has been a way for the market to show it’s sentiment about Virgin, they could do with some good news.

Sir Richard Branson is to sell $500m (£405m) in Virgin Galactic shares in order to prop up his airline and leisure interests, which have been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis.

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Seems it wasn’t a complete failure.

A bit of good news for Sir Branson.

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