By Benjamin Katz 
 

LONDON--Richard Branson, the British billionaire who founded the Virgin brand of travel companies, said he will raise as much money as possible against his private island home in the British Virgin Islands to inject cash into businesses struggling with the fallout of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Branson appealed in a blog post for the U.K. and Australian governments to provide loans for his airlines, Virgin Atlantic, which is part-owned by Delta Air Lines Inc., and Virgin Australia. He said both will need state support in order to survive the crisis.

Virgin-branded companies employ more than 70,000 people in 35 countries and operate in industries that have been among the hardest hit by the virus. Apart from airlines, those sectors include cruise ships and hotels. Mr. Branson bought Necker Island when he was 29 and has since established it as his primary residence.

"Over the five decades I have been in business, this is the most challenging time we have ever faced," Mr. Branson said in the post. "The challenge right now is that there is no money coming in and lots going out."

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2020 14:03 ET (18:03 GMT)

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