Virgin Galactic to commence trading on NYSE

Virgin Galactic to commence trading on NYSE

Virgin Galactic to commence trading on NYSE

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, becoming the first space tourism company to hit public markets.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic, said: "To fellow investors, employees of VG and The Spaceship Company, business partners and customers - thank you for your commitment to our great company, which has made today's exciting announcement possible".

Virgin Galactic stock popped in its New York Stock Exchange debut Monday, with shares rising more than 12 percent as investors welcomed the first publicly traded space tourism company.

During today's trading, share prices rose by as much as 9.7%, compared with the $11.79 value for final trading before the merger on Friday.

Those wishing to be on board the pioneering commercial space flight must fork out £194,000 ($250,000) each - more than 600 people have reserved tickets so far. The merger gives the combined company a valuation of $1.5 billion, with Branson retaining a 51% controlling stake. The company's SpaceShipTwo passenger spaceliner and its carrier plane WhiteKnightTwo are based on a smaller scale version (SpaceShipOne and WhiteKnight), which were developed by the aerospace company Scaled Composites and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for a crewed suborbital and reusable spaceflight in 2004.

"We are pleased to have reached today's monumental milestone and look forward to continuing to work with the Company to transform the commercial space industry", said Social Capital Hedosophia founder and CEO Chamath Palihapitiya, who will be Chairman of Virgin Galactic Holdings.

Virgin Galactic now has one operational SpaceShipTwo craft, the VSS Unity, which has completed two test flights to suborbital space and more under construction.

Virgin Galactic is moving operations and personnel from Mojave to Spaceport America in Upham, New Mexico, in anticipation of starting operations next year.

He said of the listing: 'If the public want to dabble a little bit in a spaceship company, own a little bit of a spaceship company, they can now do so'.

It also is expected to provide Virgin Galactic with several hundred million dollars in capital. "Virgin Galactic has been working tirelessly to flip the concept that of human spaceflight into actuality, and our IP and engineering skills, alongside the abilities we have confidence in our enterprise, makes us assured and our future".

Tickets aboard a SpaceShipTwo flight are now priced at $250,000 per person. The ensuing firm became once named Virgin Galactic Holdings.

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