India's SpiceJet surges on report of potential stake sale by promoter

·2-min read
A SpiceJet Boeing 737 passenger aircraft prepares to land at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Shares of India's SpiceJet Ltd closed nearly 13% higher on Wednesday, following a report that promoter Ajay Singh was exploring the option of selling a portion of his stake in the budget carrier.

SpiceJet is in talks with a Middle Eastern carrier for the sale and discussions are also ongoing with a large Indian conglomerate, Indian business news channel CNBC-TV-18 reported, citing sources. Singh holds a stake of about 60% in the airline, it added. (https://bit.ly/3zlo07u)

SpiceJet did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Dubai's Emirates has no plans to acquire a stake in any airline in India or elsewhere, a spokesperson for the company said.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, which has held stakes in nine different carriers, including India's Jet Airways, declined to comment when asked by Reuters if it was in talks to take a minority stake.

Etihad has largely walked away from investing in other carriers after the strategy failed and contributed to billions of dollars in losses at the state-owned carrier, forcing a change in management five years ago.

Qatar Airways and Saudia did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

SpiceJet shares, which have fallen nearly 24% so far this year, posted a record intra-day jump in early trade on Wednesday.

The domestic airline has been under the scanner lately, following incidents of technical snags that prompted India's aviation regulator to order it to halve its approved fleet this summer for eight weeks.

The company said on Tuesday it had cleared all of its outstanding principal dues with the state-run airport operator Airports Authority of India.

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Anil D'Silva)

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