Tata Sons raises stake in AirAsia India

Tata Sons, the holding firm of the diversified business conglomerate Tata Group, has increase its equity stake in the low-fare airline AirAsia India—the newly floated joint venture in partnership with Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd—to 41.06 per cent.

Previously, Tata Sons owned 30 per cent, while AirAsia Bhd held 49 per cent stake and the rest was owned by Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace Pvt. Ltd.

Tata Sons spokesperson said, "The increase in the equity share is merely the result of one shareholder not subscribing to their allocation in the recent rights issue to fund the continued expansion of the airlines’ operation."

The spokesperson did not name the investor who did not reinvest but it is learnt to be Bhatia. Notably, Bhatia had previously expressed his reservations on Tata Sons floating its separate full-service carrier JV with Singapore Airlines.

Tata Sons is the promoter of major operating companies of the Tata group and holds significant shareholdings in these companies.

AirAsia had formed a joint venture in February 2013 with Tata Group and another local business partner Arun Bhatia to operate a domestic low-cost airline.

The airline, which started operations last year, competes with other budget carriers such as IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir besides new players such as Air Pegasus.

Tata Sons also owns 51 per cent equity stake in Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines in which the latter owns 49 per cent holding.

Meanwhile, Chennai-headquartered AirAsia India announced that it chief financial officer Vijay Gopalan has resigned citing personal reasons. He had joined in August 2013 and was a part of the start-up team. AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya has been given the additional responsibility as managing director.

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