Virgin Galactic shares erase profits in 2021 following Richard Branson’s stake sale

SpaceShipTwo “Unity” on the runway after an abandoned space test on December 12, 2020.

Virgo Galactic

A Virgin Group spokesperson told CNBC that the company “intends to use the net proceeds from this sale to support its portfolio of global leisure, vacation and travel companies that continue to experience the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.” It’s the second time Branson has sold Virgin Galactic shares to help the Virgin Group, as it sold around $ 500 million of its stake last May.

Virgin Galactic continues to work to complete development of the spacecraft designed to fly people to the edge of space and back. The company suffered a setback in December when electromagnetic interference caused its most recent space experiment to be halted prematurely. The next attempt is expected in May.

The development delays have pushed Virgin Galactic’s planned debut of its space tourism service back. CEO Michael Colglazier said the company doesn’t expect commercial flights to begin until early 2022.

Virgin Galactic expects to conduct four more space tests on its VSS Unity spacecraft, including flying Branson this summer.

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