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Virgin Voyages gets $550m in fresh capital led by BlackRock with Bain, Virgin Group

'The expansion and enthusiastic commitment of the investor group supporting Virgin Voyages is a testament to the attractive fundamentals of this brand and what makes it so special,' Bain Capital's Ryan Cotton said
Virgin Voyages closed on $550m in new capital, led by BlackRock and including new financing and additional capital from existing investors Bain Capital Private Equity and Virgin Group.

The line said it also received additional unspecified 'support' from existing lenders.

According to Virgin, the new funding will enable it to continue the execution of its growth strategy and strengthen its financial position as cruise demand continues to gain momentum.

Follows Resilent Lady delay

This follows, in June, Virgin delaying the introduction of its third ship, Resilient Lady, until second quarter 2023. Resilient Lady had been scheduled to enter service in mid-August from Piraeus on weeklong Adriatic and Greek Islands itineraries.

At the time, the line cited 'global challenges' including supply chain obstacles, uncertainty of international travelers to go to Eastern Europe and crewing challenges, and CEO Tom McAlpin said the company was seeking to close its next round of funding,

From pandemic postponements to awards recognition

Repeatedly postponed by the pandemic, Scarlet Lady began revenue service in August 2021. The PortMiami-based ship currently sails to the Bahamas and Caribbean, while Valiant Lady has been cruising to the Mediterranean from Barcelona this summer.

The line pointed to strong third-party recognition, including being awarded Cruise Critic’s 'Best New Cruise Ship,' Condé Nast Traveler’s 2022 Cruising 'Hot List' and, most recently, the No. 2 (following Celebrity Cruises) 'Mega-Ship Ocean Cruise Lines' in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.

'We have created an incredible product that both our investors and consumers truly believe in, and this additional capital comes at a time when we’re looking forward to exponential growth that will, in turn, help us achieve what we set out to accomplish,' McAlpin said.

BlackRock sees 'positive outlook and impressive growth on the horizon'

'Despite the unprecedented challenges the cruise sector has faced in the past few years, the industry is exhibiting a powerful rebound,' said Brendan Galloway, director in BlackRock Global Credit. 'We are excited to invest in Virgin Voyages on behalf of our investors as we see a positive outlook and impressive growth on the horizon for the company.'

According to Ryan Cotton, a managing director at Bain Capital, 'Virgin Voyages has successfully launched a new brand in the cruise industry and proven its appeal to both the traditional and non-traditional cruiser, allowing the brand to tap into new markets and reimagine this travel category.' He added: 'The expansion and enthusiastic commitment of the investor group supporting Virgin Voyages is a testament to the attractive fundamentals of this brand and what makes it so special.'

Virgin Voyages reported 'exponential growth' in bookings in the last six months and said research shows people are eager to cruise, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sunsetting its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships demonstrating confidence in the industry.

Goldman Sachs served as lead placement agent to Virgin Voyages.