With its administrators likely to ask the federal government for more cash to fund the rest of its sale process, Virgin Australia Holdings has said it has shortlisted “a small number of potential buyers” for the company.

Deloitte’s lead administrator, Vaughan Strawbridge, revealed in a statement that it had taken “a significant step forward” with the shortlisting of non-binding indicative offers for the Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l) parent but refrained from naming any of the parties or how many there were.

Each of the companies on the shortlist is “well funded and possessing deep aviation experience [and] have also worked constructively with the administration process and put forward credible indicative bids,” the May 18 statement claimed.

Each potential suitor also has a plan for the business that “can secure the future for thousands of Virgin Australia employees,” it added.

A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the list contained four parties - US private equity firms Bain Capital, Cyrus Capital Partners, and Indigo Partners, and the Australian private equity company BGH Capital. The source did not name InterGlobe Enterprises, the biggest shareholder of IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l), which confirmed last week that it was interested in Virgin Australia.

“We received more interest than anticipated from parties who are eager to be a part of the future of Virgin Australia,” Strawbridge said in the statement. “We understand some parties will be disappointed that they have not been invited to continue.”

Binding offers for the group, which entered voluntary administration on April 21 owing just over AUD6.8 billion Australian dollars (USD4.45 billion) to more than 12,000 creditors, are due on June 12.

Virgin is currently estimated to be burning through about AUD15 million (USD9.8 million) a week, the Australian Financial Review reported on May 19 - and has about AUD100 million (USD65.5 million) left.

This means that the administrators are likely to ask the Australian government for more funds to keep it operating until a meeting of creditors scheduled for August.

An admission Strawbridge made on May 18 that Virgin Australia only has enough cash to “get through our sale process,” which is scheduled to be completed at the end of June, has widely been seen as a precursor to seeking a government bailout, a source told the Australian Financial Review.