Friday, November 16, 2018

Tata Sons wants to fly out of joint venture with AirAsia

Mumbai: Tata Sons is looking to end its partnership with AirAsia Bhd as it only wants to be engaged in one airline business, Vistara, the joint venture with Singapore Airlines (SIA), according to several people aware of the matter.
Initial discussions to this end have begun, even as the conglomerate inches closer to a separate deal to acquire ownership stake in India’s second-biggest airline Jet Airways from its founder Naresh Goyal.
The Tata Group holding company is proposing to “exit AirAsia India and run the only full-service private airline in India, which is Vistara-plus-Jet,” said one of the people. Tata Sons owns 51% of AirAsia India with the rest held by Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd.
Tata Sons, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines declined to comment on what they said was speculation.
Finding a buyer for the Tata stake won’t be easy given AirAsia India’s small size and snail-paced expansion, losses and, most importantly, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into alleged lobbying and irregular transactions by AirAsia Bhd CEO Tony Fernandes and other AirAsia executives. Alternatively, Fernandes may look to sell, said one of the people.
16/11/18 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times