Qatar Airways keen to buy stake in Indigo

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Dubai, May 6: Qatar Airways said it was keen to buy stake in Indigo, India's largest airline by market share, if its promoters were open to take an investment partner on board.

"He (IndiGo promoter) has indicated they are not planning to sell a stake in IndiGo, but once they consider he knows I'm interested," Doha-based Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said during a media conference here.

qatar

The current Indian law allows a foreign airline to acquire up to 49 per cent stake in a domestic carrier.

At present, Rahul Bhatia of InterGlobe Enterprises holds 51.12 per cent stake in IndiGo and the rest 48.88 per cent is held by Rakesh S Gangwal through his Virginia-based company Caelum Investments.

"We're not in talks, we have a personal relationship between us and the owner of IndiGo," Al Baker said.

He stated that Qatar Airways was looking at investing in other airlines as well, adding that, "Why I always talk about IndiGo is because it is the best run most successful Indian carrier. If there is any opportunity for taking an equity stake in Indigo, we will be very interested."

Indigo accounts for more than a third of the total domestic passenger market share in India. If Qatar Airways is able to strike a deal, it would get a big leg-up given that two other West Asian carriers -- Etihad and Emirates -- have a strong position in India.

Al-Baker said Qatar Airways is planning to expand further in a "aggressive" manner in the current year following the addition of 12 new routes to its network last year.

The Guragon-based no-frills Indian carrier is in the process of floating Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise funds to the tune of Rs 2,300 crore.

"IndiGo is likely to file the IPO documents with SEBI by May and may mop-up around USD 400 million or about Rs 2,500 crore from the process," sources in the investment banking industry had told PTI in late March.

It is understood to have roped in six merchant bankers -- Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Kotak Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley and UBS Securities -- for the issue.

PTI

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