Etihad agrees to raise stake in India’s Jet Airways to 49%

LONDON • Etihad Airways PJSC has agreed to raise its stake in Jet Airways India Ltd to 49% as founder and chairman Naresh Goyal (picture) gives up majority control of the carrier, potentially paving the way for the rescue of the cash-starved company, according to television reports.

BTVI television channel reported the Etihad stake increase yesterday, while CNBC-TV18 said Goyal’s stake could drop to as low as 20% from 51% after the revamp, and his voting rights would be capped at 10%. The airline didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comments.

The airline’s shares jumped as much as 19% in Mumbai yesterday, the biggest intraday gain since Nov 15. The broader S&P BSE Sensex index was down 0.5%.

Jet Airways, once India’s No 2 airline, has been seeking funds from investors including minority shareholder, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.

The Mumbai-based airline, which hasn’t seen a profit in nine of the past 11 fiscal years, has held no talks or made any decision that requires a stock market disclosure, it said in a filing before the report on Goyal stepping down.

BTVI earlier said Etihad, which currently holds 24% in Jet Airways, is likely to have more say in the operations and management of the beleaguered carrier. Indian regulations cap ownership of local airlines by foreign carriers at 49%. — Bloomberg