Jet Airways, SpiceJet in talks to sell stakes
New Delhi/Mumbai: SpiceJet Monday said some foreign airlines have evinced interest in it amid speculation that AirAsia and Qatar Airways have expressed keenness to buy stakes, while market was also abuzz with another overseas carrier Etihad being interested in Jet Airways.
Share prices of SpiceJet and Jet Airways rose sharply by 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively, amid stake sale speculation and touched their respective one-year record high levels during the intra-day trade at the stock exchanges.
Interestingly, another domestic carrier Kingfisher Airlines has been saying for a long time that it could consider selling equity to a foreign airline. Kingfisher shares also rose 5 percent Monday to a month-high of Rs 14.4.
While both the domestic carriers declined to comment specifically on the speculation, low-cost airline SpiceJet said, "It is true that a few foreign airlines/investors have evinced interest in SpiceJet."
It will be, however, very premature to comment on the possibilities of any fresh equity issuance to such interested parties, a SpiceJet spokesperson said.
Reacting to reports about a possible deal with UAE's Etihad Airways, Jet said: "We are aware that recently there has been much speculation in the Press. The company, however, cannot comment on such speculative reports."
Regarding SpiceJet, the market is abuzz with speculation about Malaysia's AirAsia as also Qatar Airways being interested in acquiring stake in it.
The company, however, said that "SpiceJet has been subject of several speculative reports appearing in the media during the last few months.
"While it is true that a few foreign airlines/investors have evinced interest in SpiceJet, it will be very premature to comment on the possibilities of any fresh equity issuance to such interested parties.
"In line with our internal policy to not comment on market rumours, we cannot confirm or deny any of the names which have appeared in the media from time to time," a spokesperson said.
Separately, SpiceJet said in a BSE filing that "though few investors have evinced interest in the company post Government of India allowing FDI in civil aviation sector to foreign airlines, it will be very pre-mature to comment on the possibilities of any fresh equity issuance to such interested parties or confirm/deny names of any specific entity."
SpiceJet shares today settled 13 percent higher at Rs 44.4 at the BSE, after touching a 52-week high of Rs 48.85.
Jet Airways shares also soared 11 percent to close at Rs 560.4 after scaling a 52-week high of Rs 598.80 at the BSE.
There have been reports that top Jet officials have recently been in the UAE to hold talks for a possible deal with Etihad, although there have been on official word on the same.
Meanwhile, top Civil Aviation Ministry officials denied knowledge of any movement with regard to investments by foreign airlines in their Indian counterparts, even as Malaysian carrier AirAsia denied any plan to buy stake in any Indian airline.
High-level ministry sources maintained they were not aware of any development in this regard and just read about them in the media.
In a statement, AirAsia Group's Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said, "AirAsia would like to enlighten the public and its shareholders on the speculation that has been actively spreading in regards to the purchase of an Indian budget carrier."
"AirAsia rejects the speculation surrounding our possible expansion in India. These reports are completely incorrect," Fernandes said in the statement from Sepang in Malaysia.
"AirAsia has not submitted a bid for the Indian budget carrier (SpiceJet) and has no intention of doing so," he said.