Tatas say no offer to Jet yet, preliminary talks

Tatas say no offer to Jet yet, preliminary talks

Stock rallies over 40% in last 5 days

A Jet Airways passenger aircraft prepares to land. (REUTERS File photo)

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 here.

The speculation has sent the Jet counter soaring over 40 percent in the past five trading sessions alone.

The speculation has sent the Jet stock soaring. The counter closed over 8 percent at Rs 346.85 on the BSE, whose index jumped 0.56 percent to 35,457.16. The Jet stock opened with an over 14 percent gap in the morning expecting a positive outcome from the Tata Sons board meeting.

The rumour of the rescue deal by the Tatas, reportedly being brokered by the government, sent Jet shares zooming 26.41 percent Thursday.

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 progarmme 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.