Tata Sons on Friday said it has not made any concrete proposal for taking over the struggling carrier Jet Airways and that it has held only "preliminary" discussions on the matter. The Tatas, which already run two carriers-the full- service Vistara in a joint venture with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia India in a similar arrangement with Air Asia of Malaysia, have widely speculated to be planning a complete takeover of the Naresh Goyal-run airline with its
international partner Singapore Airlines.
"We would like to clarify that any such discussions (to take over Jet Airways) have been preliminary and no proposal has been made," a statement from the diversified conglomerate said after a board meeting.
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The speculation has sent the Jet counter soaring over 40 percent in the past five trading sessions alone.
Jet Airways' deputy chief executive and chief financial officer Amit Agarwal earlier this week had admitted that the company was in talks with "multiple interested parties" for fund infusion as well as selling six of its Boeing 777 planes along with a stake in its loyalty programme Jet Privilege.
Chairman and promoter Naresh Goyal along with his family owns 51 percent stake in the airline, while Gulf carrier Etihad Airways owns 24 percent in the cash-strapped airline, which earlier this week reported Rs 1,261 crore in loss for the September quarter against a profit of Rs 71 crore y-o-y, making it the third straight quarters of heavy losses.
This had the airline also putting as many as six of its Boeing 777s on sale to part-fund liquidity.
Media reports suggest that the parent company of Vistara, Tata-Singapore Airlines, is looking at an all-stock merger of Jet as part of the Tata group's plans to board Goyal's full-service carrier.
In an exchange filing Thursday, Jet Airways described the media reports as speculative.
Shares of Jet Airways Friday surged over 8 per cent ahead of a meeting of Tata Sons' board, which is likely to discuss buyout of the cash-strapped airline. The scrip of the airline soared for the fourth consecutive day on Friday.
The stock finally settled at Rs 346.85 on the BSE, down 8.07 per cent from the previous close after falling nearly 7 per cent to hit a low of Rs 299.75 apiece in morning trade.
In intra-day trade, the scrip climbed 11.23 per cent to Rs 357.
At the National Stock Exchange, the shares of the airline closed 6.26 per cent higher at Rs 341. It had risen as much as 14.35 per cent to an intra-day high of Rs 366.95.
On Thursday, shares of Jet Airways had zoomed up to 26 per cent.
A section of media had reported that Tata group was conducting due diligence of Jet Airways to buy the full-service carrier from its owner, Naresh Goyal.
Jet Airways, however, termed media reports of Tata group carrying out due diligence to acquire the airline as "speculative".
In a response to the clarification sought by BSE on the news reports, Jet Airways said, "...the subject news is speculative in nature and that there is no discussion or decision in the board which would require a disclosure..."
(With PTI inputs)