India's Kingfisher wants to sell stake to foreign airline

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India's Kingfisher Airlines is looking to sell an equity stake to raise cash and has called on the Government to ease restrictions on foreign airlines owning stakes in Indian carriers.

The Government currently outlaws foreign carriers from having stakes in Indian carriers but Kingfisher's chairman, Vijay Mallya, has publicly called for the restrictions to be eased to allow foreign carriers to own as much as 25%.

Mallya says in a statement that "I have requested government to allow foreign airlines to acquire up to 25% in Indian carriers as I believe aviation should be treated as per international norms and other industry sectors where strategic investors can invest".

"I have received several expressions of interest from foreign airlines," he adds, without elaborating.

Kingfisher has been reporting quarterly losses and has delayed taking delivery of some of the aircraft it has on order due to its current financial state.

Mallya has been trying to improve the carrier's finances by seeking to sell a 25% stake to raise cash. Its main shareholder is Mallya's United Breweries (UB) Group which has also been seeking to raise cash by selling a stake to foreign investors.

UB Group's United Spirits dominates India's spirits market and announced to the Bombay Stock Exchange recently that it has entered into talks with foreign liquor giant Diageo, maker of Johnnie Walker whiskey.