Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. has filed to sell 500 million shares, according to a regulatory filing Monday, sending the stock lower after the weekend’s successful space-tourism flight.
The stock was poised for its lowest close in about two weeks and down 5% so far in July. For the year, however, the stock has gained nearly 84%, compared with an advance of about 17% for the S&P 500 index.
Virgin’s founder Richard Branson and five crewmates flew to suborbital space on the company’s VSS Unity rocket-powered spaceplane in a live-streamed flight on Sunday.
Analyst Ken Herbert at Canaccord Genuity called the flight a “significant achievement” and said that in becoming a certified astronaut, Virgin’s Branson “has effectively won the commercial tourism space race.”
Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, is due to go on his space flight on July 20.
“While Blue Origin is likely to nitpick” the apogee of Branson’s flight, which was above the US-defined space border with Blue Origin’s apogee goal, “we view Branson’s achievement as a massive marketing coup for Virgin Galactic that will be
impossible for the public to ignore.”
Space is likely the “final frontier” of disruption, Adam Jonas with Morgan Stanley said in his note.
“Investor interest in space, which just 2 years ago was as vacuous as space itself, today seems to be on a path to become as crowded as an orbital debris field,” he said.
Virgin said that proceeds from the secondary offering will be used for “general corporate purposes,” including capital expenditures “for its manufacturing capabilities, development of its spaceship fleet and other infrastructure improvements.”