Economy

India's Debt-Ridden State-Run Airliner to Sell 49% Stake

According to a report in The Free Press Journal, Singapore Airlines on Wednesday said it is keeping its options open as far as investing in ailing carrier Air India (AI) is concerned, after the government allowed foreign carriers to own up to 49% of the national carrier.

Conveying its "deep displeasure" over the decision to allow 40% foreign investment in Air India, the SJM believed that this was not the best of the solutions for ending the troubles with the national carrier.

This format is followed by both Tata Sons' joint venture airlines, where Singapore Airlines has a 49% stake in Vistara and AirAsia a 49% stake in AirAsia India.

Foreign airlines were allowed to invest under government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49 per cent of their paid-up capital in 2012.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing government has sought to encourage foreign companies to invest in India since coming to power in 2014.

Foreign investments in Air India, including that of overseas airlines, should not exceed 49 per cent either directly or indirectly. Vistara CEO Leslie Thng had last week said the airline's promoters had an open mind for AI if it made business sense.

Tax and audit major Deloitte said that investors in the retail sector will "refresh" their India investment plans.

"It has been chose to provide in the FDI policy that wherever the foreign investor wishes to specify a particular auditor/audit firm having global network for the Indian investee company, then audit of such investee companies should be carried out as joint audit wherein one of the auditors should not be part of the same network", the press statement said on Wednesday.

A group of Indian ministers is in the process of finalising the contours for the proposed strategic stake sale in the national carrier Air India and expression of interest is likely to be invited from bidders soon.

"We continue to focus on our organic growth and will partner with other airlines where it benefits our customers and makes commercial sense", Emirates said in a statement.



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