Although Patrick Corp’s Chris Corrigan has installed himself as chairman of Virgin Blue, and is moving to control the board, the prospect of a management purge has been allayed with the announcement that Corrigan is “very pleased” that Virgin chief executive Brett Godfrey will be staying on, reports the SMH. Veteran business columnist Terry McCrann observes that despite predictions to the contrary, Patrick Corp’s takeover has added about $90 million to the Virgin Group’s 25.5% of Virgin Blue – no wonder Richard Branson “was all sweetness and light about the future”, says McCrann, adding that the key point is that Corrigan is not into “corporate charity”.

But despite Corrigan’s glee, the global airline industry could lose US$5.5 billion this year because of continuing high crude oil prices, according to a warning from the International Air Transport Association in the Financial Times(subscription required). This means total losses by the world’s airlines in the five years from 2001-05 would exceed $40 billion, says the FT.

Meanwhile, there’s more good news for UBS, reports The Australian. After winning the plum role to run the federal Government’s study into the full privatisation of Telstra last week, UBS has now topped Thomson Financial’s quarterly league table of bank involvement in merger and acquisition deals announced in Australia – scoring a role in $16.25 billion worth of deals as M&A activity soared in the booming March quarter.

And on Wall Street, US stocks ended higher on Monday as the price of oil fell back from recent record highs, as MarketWatchreports.

Peter Fray

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