Australia's ACCC delays approval for Air New Zealand's Virgin stake increase

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Australia's competition regulator has requested more information from Virgin Australia on plans for Air New Zealand to increase its stake in the airline to 26%.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced an investigation into Air New Zealand's proposal to increase its Virgin Australia stake in June, and had expected to announce a decision on 1 August.

However, on 30 July, it requested more information from Virgin Australia on the deal, and has suspended its timeline for the approval. It has not yet given a revised timeline of when it plans to announce its decision.

Air New Zealand entered into an agreement with the Australian airline to increase its stake from 19.9% to 23% in June, subject to approvals from the ACCC and the Foreign Investment Review Board. Air New Zealand says that as part of its applications, it has sought permission to increase its stake in Virgin Australia to a total of 26%.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia recently also received a draft determination from the ACCC that proposes to extend their trans-Tasman alliance for a further three years from the end of 2013.