Low-cost airline Virgin America, backed by Richard Branson, has raised about $307m in its initial public offering.

The company's shares are to debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange later in the day under the symbol "VA".

The 13 November stock sale, priced at $23 per share, valued the carrier at $993.6m (£634.2m, €798.4m).

Of the 13.3 million shares on offer, Virgin America sold 13.1 million, while the rest came from the selling stockholders, Reuters reported.

Branson, through VX Holdings, will own a 24.8% stake in the airline post the offering. Hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners is the biggest shareholder with a 32.8% stake.

Barclays, BofA Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities were among the underwriters to the offering.

Virgin Galactic

The public offering comes just weeks after a spaceship from Virgin Galactic, Branson's space tourism venture, exploded over California's Mojave desert.

The spaceship exploded mid-air, the cause of which is being investigated, during one of its test-flights killing a pilot and severely injuring another.

Branson, however, remains bullish he will take tourists to outer space, saying earlier in the month he was "absolutely confident" he would achieve his goal.

Approximately 700 would-be space tourists have paid $250,000 to travel into space on the Virgin Galactic service.

Virgin America earned $10.5m on revenue of $1.42bn in 2013, its first profitable year since it began flying in 2007.

Virgin America is the US offshoot of Branson's London-based Virgin Group, which has a significant presence in a number of businesses across the UK including airlines, hospitality, media, railways and telecommunications.