Etihad to raise stake in Jet to 49%; founder to give up control: Report

Etihad Airways PJSC has agreed to raise its stake in Jet Airways India Ltd to 49 per cent as founder and chairman Naresh Goyal 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 Monday, while CNBC-TV18 said Goyal’s stake could drop to as low as 20 per cent from 51 per cent after the revamp, and his voting rights would be capped at 10 per cent. The airline didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comments.

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

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 per cent 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 per cent.

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