Amid reports of Qatar Airways holding talks to acquire stake in SpiceJet, the premier Gulf carrier today said that such "unfounded rumours" were being spread to raise share prices and asserted that it was not in talks with any Indian airline at present.
"Qatar Airways categorically denies it is interested in investing in Spicejet or any other Indian airline. This is pure speculation by individuals who deliberately want to spread such unfounded rumours to raise the stock value of their entities," the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement from Doha.
"India is a huge market and a potentially lucrative one. While we have expressed interest in expanding our presence in India, we will only be interested in any potential investment once we are sure regulations and laws are properly liberalised. I can confirm we are currently not talking to any Indian airline," the Qatar Airways chief said.
Al Baker's statement came after reports that Qatar may buy equity stake in SpiceJet, which fuelled a strong rally in the latter's share prices.
However, the Kalanidhi Maran-owned no-frill carrier said in a BSE filing that some foreign players have evinced interest in the company but did not name its suitors. It also termed the reports speculative.
"Though few investors have evinced interest in the company post government allowing FDI in civil aviation sector to foreign airlines, it will be very pre-mature to comment on the possibilities of any fresh equity issuance to such interested parties or confirm, deny names of any specific entity," SpiceJet told the stock exchange.
Following these reports, Spicejet scrip jumped as much as 8.5 per cent this morning. It closed at Rs 45.85, up 4.09 per cent on the BSE.