Virgin Blue has completed the retail component of its entitlement offer and raised A$98.3 million ($82.1 million).

The Australian carrier says the offer, originally announced on 27 July, was fully underwritten. The offer also had an institutional component, which combined with the retail offer grossed proceeds of A$231.4 million.

"As a result of the entitlement offer, Virgin Blue is better positioned to withstand the current difficult operating environment and to take advantage of growth opportunities in the sector as the arise," says Virgin CEO Brett Godfrey.

On 27 August, Virgin Blue posted a full year net loss of A$160 million in line with its "toughest operating environment" since its formation 10 years ago.

The Australian carrier recorded a loss for the 12 months to 30 June, a year after it reported a net profit of A$98 million, despite rising revenues - its first annual loss since listing in 2003.

Total revenues were up 12.8% at A$2.64 billion, but that was offset by operating expenses increasing by 22% to A$2.67 billion.

Virgin Blue said in June that it would raise A$231.4 million in fresh equity, and that Godfrey will leave his post in 2010. Looking ahead, it expects to break even in the new fiscal year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news