Virgin Orbit Holdings, Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries, (the “Company” or “Virgin Orbit”), a responsive space launch provider, announced today that it commenced a voluntary proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (“Chapter 11”) in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware in order to effectuate a sale of the business. With the support of Virgin Investments Limited in the form of debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing, Virgin Orbit intends to use the Chapter 11 process to maximize value for its business and assets. This announcement follows the Company’s previous statement about reducing its workforce due to an inability to raise sufficient out-of-court capital to continue operating its business at the current run-rate. To help fund the process and protect its operations, the Company has received a commitment from Virgin Investments Limited for $31.6 million in new money DIP financing. Upon approval from the Bankruptcy Court, the DIP financing is expected to provide Virgin Orbit with the necessary liquidity to continue operating as it furthers the marketing process commenced pre-petition to sell the Company and seek a value-maximizing transaction for the business and its assets.
“The team at Virgin Orbit has developed and brought into operation a new and innovative method of launching satellites into orbit, introducing new technology and managing great challenges and great risks along the way as we proved the system and performed several successful space flights – including successfully launching 33 satellites into their precise orbit. While we have taken great efforts to address our financial position and secure additional financing, we ultimately must do what is best for the business. We believe that the cutting-edge launch technology that this team has created will have wide appeal to buyers as we continue in the process to sell the Company. At this stage, we believe that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward to identify and finalize an efficient and value-maximizing sale,” said Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit.
The Company is focused on a swift conclusion to its sale process in order to provide clarity on the future of the Company to its customers, vendors, and employees. In the interim, Virgin Orbit will continue operating in the ordinary course as a “debtor-in-possession” under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court and in accordance with the applicable provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Virgin Orbit has filed customary motions requesting that the Court authorize the Company’s ability to its use cash on hand and access the DIP financing to support this process, including payment of remaining employee wages and benefits without interruption. The Company intends to pay suppliers and vendors to the fullest extent possible pursuant to normal terms for goods and services provided on or after the filing date. The Company is also committed to working with its customers as it tries to find a buyer that will be able to continue to fulfill their needs.
Virgin Orbit is represented by Latham & Watkins as restructuring counsel, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP as local restructuring counsel, Alvarez & Marsal as restructuring advisor, and Ducera as investment banker. Virgin Group is represented by Davis Polk & Wardwell as restructuring counsel, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell as local restructuring counsel, and FTI Consulting as financial advisor. Virgin Orbit Holdings, Inc (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the Company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit Holdings, Inc to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs.