Kingfisher seeks foreign stake sale nod

Kingfisher seeks foreign stake sale nod

Mumbai: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has requested the government to allow foreign airlines to buy up to 25% in Indian carriers.

Kingfisher’s request comes as losses mount for Indian carriers in a difficult operating environment. On Monday, The Economic Times reported that Kingfisher was talking to three airlines about selling a 25% stake, citing people it didn’t identify. However, an aviation ministry official said Indian aviation laws do not allow foreign-owned airlines to own equity in airline firms in India and there was no proposal before the ministry to change that rule.

“I believe aviation should be treated as per international norms and other industry sectors where strategic investors can invest," chairman Vijay Mallya said in a statement. “I have received several expressions of interest from foreign airlines. However, I cannot give details."

The global financial crisis and falling stock markets have made fund-raising difficult for Indian carriers, which are expected to collectively post a loss of nearly $2 billion (Rs9,800 crore today) in the year to March 2009.