New Delhi: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd said on Tuesday that it will sell its entire 10% stake in GMR Group-promoted Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) for $79 million.

In 2006, Malaysia Airports had invested around $40 million for the 10% stake.

DIAL, which runs Indira Gandhi International Airport, is a joint venture led by GMR with a 54% stake. The other equity partners are state-run Airports Authority of India (26%), Fraport AG (10%) and Malaysia Airports (10%).

Following the sale, GMR’s stake in the airport will increase to 64%.

In a filing to the Bursa Malyasia stock exchange, Malaysia Airports said it is considering this proposed disposal as a strategic opportunity to crystallize its investment after realizing the value of its investment in DIAL.

It said the company has recently realigned its investment objectives “to focus more on investments in companies (in) which it can exercise a significant degree of control over operational decision making".

“As the existing shareholders agreement restricts foreign ownership in DIAL to not more than 49%, Malaysia Airports is of the opinion that it would not be in a position to exert influence in DIAL unless it is able to own majority shareholdings in DIAL," the company said.

A GMR Group executive said the proposed sale is subject to approval from Airports Authority of India. The company has already tied up funds and entered into a so-called share purchase agreement, he said, requesting anonymity.

A few years ago, GMR Group had indicated that it would like to buy Fraport’s stake and increase its ownership in DIAL to 64%.

The GMR-led consortium was in January 2006 awarded the concession to operate, manage and develop the Indira Gandhi International Airport following a competitive bidding process. The 30-year concession can be extended by another 30 years.

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