IndiGo chief executive Ronojoy Dutta has dismissed as “baseless speculation” reports of a rift between its two major shareholders, Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal.
He took the extroadinary step of issuing a lengthy statement on 18 May to address several reports circulating in the Indian media that the two shareholders are taking legal advice to resolve a dispute.
“These reports have in turn fuelled further speculation as to what those areas of disagreements could be including future direction of the company, management changes, control issues and the like. I would like to forcefully address these baseless speculations as they are not in the best interests of our shareholders, our employees and the travelling public,” Dutta says.
Some reports claim that Gangwal’s RG Group has been seeking to amend a shareholder agreement with Bhatia’s InterGlobe Group to allow it to take control of the airline. In the statement, however, Gangwal forcefully batted away that suggestion.
“I am categorically and clearly stating that there is no interest or desire whatsoever on the part of the RG Group to take control of the company,” he says. “Also, to put to rest the messaging on the fact that the RG Group is attempting to renegotiate the Shareholders Agreement, I am placing on record that the RG Group stands by the current [agreement] which, in any case, expires this October.”
IndiGo’s last annual report showed that Gangwal and his family control around 37% of the airline, while InterGlobe holds a similarly-sized stake.
Dutta also addressed the airline’s recent management changes, urging the press not to confuse them as a “sign of dissonance at the top”. He adds that the two major shareholders and the board worked together in making those changes, and that it is a natural process given the evolution of the airline.
“I deeply resent and wish to dispel all attempts to portray us as a fractured team at IndiGo,” he adds. “The truth is that we are all very much united in vision, purpose and direction as we move forward to build a world class [airline].”