Tata Sons may grow AirAsia India stake


New Delhi • India’s Tata Sons Ltd may increase its stake in AirAsia India to 51% by buying the shares held by two minor partners, the Times of India reported yesterday.

AirAsia Group Bhd and Tata Sons each have a 49% stake in the India-based airline, while the remaining 2% stake is held by AirAsia India chairman S Ramadorai and non-ED R Venkataramanan.

Following the acquisition, Tata Sons will gain control of the airline.

Under Indian laws, a foreign entity cannot have a controlling stake in a domestic carrier.

AirAsia India was initially launched as a three-way joint venture (JV) with AirAsia Bhd owning 49%, and Indian partners Tata Sons and businessman Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace Pte Ltd controlling 51% shareholding.

Bhatia left the venture in 2016 after selling his 9.94% stake to Tata Sons, Ramadorai and Venkataramanan.

The Times of India, citing an unnamed source, reported that the board of Tata Sons had discussed acquiring Ramadorai and Venkataramanan’s stakes in AirAsia India, but no date was fixed to close the transaction.

In May, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into alleged corruption and violation of rules by AirAsia India in obtaining flying permits.

The airline has denied any wrong-doing and promised full co-operation in the investigation. — Bernama