Tiger Airways says it will not seek new investors for its Australian subsidiary should the country's competition watchdog disapprove of its proposed joint venture with Virgin Australia.
"Virgin is the right party to partner Tiger and will be able to strengthen Tiger Australia," the carrier said in a statement on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
"Tiger does not see, for example, a buyer who is a financial investor or non-Australian airline being able to provide operational synergies to enhance Tiger Australia's competitiveness. In other words, a new investor will not achieve Tiger's objective to turn around Tiger Australia."
The statement comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said its preliminary findings indicate that a deal between the two carriers could reduce competition in the domestic market.
"Tiger reiterates its position that the joint venture with Virgin will allow Tiger Australia to compete more effectively in the Australian market, resulting in more low-cost flights and continued benefits to consumers," says Tiger. It adds that it will provide a response to the ACCC on the issues raised.
The ACCC raised concerns that there could be "muted competition" with the reduction in the number of carriers in the country, and that there could be increased ability for Qantas/Jetstar and Virgin Australia/Tiger Australia to coordinate their services, should the deal be approved.
The regulator, however, adds that if it is able to conclude that Tiger Australia will exit the market in the absence of the proposed acquisition, it would be "highly relevant" to its assessment.
Tiger did not say whether its Australian operations would continue if the proposed acquisition, first announced last October, falls through.
Last week, Tiger's chairman JY Pillay said its Australian arm, which has never turned a profit since starting operations six years ago, is too small a player in the market and needs a strong partner to make a comeback.
The ACCC, meanwhile, is inviting responses to its concerns raised by 22 February and is expected to announce its final decision on 14 March.