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Singapore Airlines to focus on Asia after Virgin Divestment

: Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) sale of its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic will allow the cash-rich Asian carrier to focus resources on its fast-growing regional market, analysts said Wednesday. The Singapore carrier’s tie-up with British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic never really took off since the alliance began 12 years ago when the stake was bought for £600 million ($966.5 million). SIA on Tuesday said it will sell the stake to Delta Air Lines of the United States for $360 million in cash in a deal to be completed next year. SIA said it “had been evaluating strategic options for the stake for some time, as the investment has not performed to expectations and the synergies the parties originally hoped for have not materialised.” Analysts said SIA, consistently one of the world’s most profitable airlines, had little say in how Virgin Atlantic was run by the flamboyant Branson, and the sale allows it to exit an underperforming investment in the troubled European ma