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Virgin Australia gets nod for Skywest buy


Virgin Australia has won approval from Singapore's corporate regulator to take over regional airline Skywest as it makes a push into budget air travel.

Virgin surprised the market in late October when it announced a $98.7 million bid for Skywest and a 60 per cent buy-up of another budget carrier Tiger for $35 million.

Five weeks later, the Securities Industry Council of Singapore has given Virgin formal approval to take over Skywest.

Virgin is paying 22.5 cents for every Skywest share.

Skywest, which serves the West Australian market, is presently incorporated in Singapore.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Foreign Investment Review Board, Singapore's High Court and Skywest shareholders still have to approve of the acquisition.

Virgin is hoping its Skywest takeover will give it a slice of the lucrative fly-in, fly-out market in mining-rich Western Australia.

Skywest also has flights to Darwin, Melbourne and Denpasar in Bali.

Virgin's shares were down one cent to 43 cents at 1.36pm AEDT.