Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages cruise ship brand in major funding drive
Sir Richard Branson’s cruise ship business is seeking major funding for expansion, just as the business magnate’s satellite venture battles financial difficulty.
The Telegraph understands Virgin Voyages, which plans to double the size of its fleet this year, is raising fresh capital to support an “aggressive growth strategy”.
Sources close to the business said it was too early to say how much would be raised or what the money would fund, although Sky News reported the figure to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Virgin Voyages has two cruise ships, the Scarlet Lady which sails the Caribbean and the Valiant Lady which takes passengers around the Mediterranean. It plans to launch a further two liners this year – the Resilient Lady in May and Brilliant Lady in December.
The company has targeted a younger customer base, with ships featuring tattoo parlours and raves.
The fundraising comes as Sir Richard’s Virgin Orbit announced it was laying off 85pc of its staff and ceasing operations.
Branson was forced to inject $11m (£9m) into the troubled satellite company to fund the redundancies of 675 staff, after the business failed to raise funding from other sources.
Virgin Orbit temporarily suspended operations last month while it sought additional funds following a collapse in the company’s share price earlier this year.
In January the company suffered a high-profile failure of its satellite launch in Cornwall and its finances rapidly unravelled. The business has not turned a profit as a public company.