Shares in space tourism company Virgin Galactic fell below $ 11.75 in trading Thursday, below the level at which the stock debuted more than two years ago.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic went public in October 2019 through a merger with a special acquisition company (SPAC) owned by Chamath Palihapitiya. The stock has seen volatile, speculative trading since then – it fell nearly $ 7 per share in the months following its debut, and climbed to $ 62.80 per share in February 2021.
While the space tourism company said on its debut it had planned to start flying customers in 2020, delays in spacecraft testing and development have steadily pushed back that schedule. After Branson and three other company employees went into space on a test flight in July 2021, further delays have postponed the start of Virgin Galactic’s commercial service until the end of this year.
The company is earnings before sales, and is losing approximately $ 55-65 million per quarter on an adjusted Ebitda basis.
Virgin Galactic stock plunged to a 52-week low of $ 11.30 Thursday morning before losses were offset.
In particular, Branson has continuously sold portions of its stake in Virgin Galactic since the company’s IPO. In four major stake sales, Branson recovered more than $ 1.25 billion despite remaining the largest single shareholder in Virgin Galactic.
Its global corporate conglomerate Virgin Group has stated in statements to CNBC that the proceeds from these share sales will be used to support Branson’s other leisure and travel companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.