Struggling carrier Kingfisher Airlines, which continues to face an uncertain future. About half the airline’s fleet remained grounded through much of the week. And it wasn’t just passengers that deserted Kingfisher, dozens of its pilots have also quit. And some of the carrier’s executives have told Mint its CEO Sanjay Aggarwal plans to quit. But chairman Vijay Mallya has insisted Aggarwal is staying with the Kingfisher.
Reports about a possible bail-out loan for Kingfisher continue. But the airline’s troubles worsened over tax issues. The previous week, tax authorities froze some of its bank accounts over unpaid dues. Kingfisher has blamed the freeze for its cancellations.
But while Kingfisher is still flying a handful of routes, safety concerns have cropped up. Aviation regulator DGCA says it’s checking Kingfisher’s fleet every day to ensure operational safety. DGCA says this is a preemptive move to ensure no accident occurs.
Switching to telecom, a major foreign operator is fleeing India. On Wednesday, UAE-based Etisalat announced it was shutting down its Indian operations. But that wasn’t all. The next day, it said it was suing its Indian joint venture partners from DB Realty. The company has gone to courts against Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka over fraud and misrepresentation.
Get up to speed on the week’s top business stories, from Kingfisher’s troubles to the latest economic numbers.
Etisalat’s exit comes soon after Norwegian firm Telenor announced it was exiting its own joint venture with Unitech that created local telecom outfit Uninor. Telenor has announced it will find a new partner and has already sued Unitech. Of course, this upheaval in the telecom sector comes after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licenses over alleged irregularities.
In other news, India’s biggest mortgage lender is about to lose its biggest shareholder. The Citigroup has decided to sell its entire stake in Housing Development and Finance Corporation or HDFC. Citi will sell 145.2 million shares, which is nearly 10% of HDFC’s total equity. The sale is expected to raise $1.86-2.07 billion. Citi’s move comes as it scrambles to raise money so it can meet new Basel-III requirements. HDFC says the share sale will not affect its operations since Citi was just a financial investor.
Multi Commodity Exchange’s IPO was subscribed 53 times over by Friday. The offer was already fully covered a day before. MCX’s IPO could raise up to Rs 663 crore.