Foreign carriers evince interest in investing in Indian counterparts

A number of international air carriers are said to be considering investing in their Indian counterparts after the proposal for allowing them to take up to 49 per cent stake gets cleared by the government.

Foreign airlines said to have evinced interest include Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and the International Airlines Group (IAG), investment arm of British Airways, have indicated potential interest, while among those not interested are West Asia's largest airline, Emirates, Germany's Lufthansa and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific.

Indian corporate giants, the Tatas and the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, are non-committal while Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and the GMR group said they did not wish to take stake in an airline.

The Tatas had earlier made an abortive attempt, to re enter the sector, so also did Anil Ambani's ADAG with an ununsuccessful bid for the erstwhile Air Deccan. GMR has also at one stage considered setting up a regional airline.

Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh announced a consensus had been reached over allowing foreign carriers to buy up to 49 per cent in Indian carriers and a cabinet note would be moved soon. However, this comes when the global aviation scenario appears bleak.

Aviation stocks rose on the news on the Bombay Stock Exchange, with Jet Airways rising 4.96 per cent to Rs 246.55, Kingfisher was up .60 per cent to Rs25.25 and Spicejet closed at Rs22.90, 2.46 per cent higher, against the Sensex which was down 0.09 per cent.