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Tatas, 2 investors to buy 49% in GMR Airports

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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: A consortium of Tata Group and two financial investors will now buy 49% in GMR Airports, operator of the Delhi airport which is the largest in the country, instead of 44.4% as proposed earlier.

In March 2019, the consortium had planned to invest Rs 8,000 crore for a 44.4% stake in GMR Airports. But the deal ran into regulatory hurdles as rules do not allow a corporate owning an airline to have more than 10% in an airport.

Tata, which runs two airlines — Vistara and AirAsia India — in the country, was to own 19.7% in GMR Airports, while the two investors — GIC and SSG Capital — were to hold 14.8% and 9.9%. Competitors of Tata’s domestic airlines had opposed its foray into the airport sector on carrier ownership grounds.

The increased stake purchase of 49% will now see Tata’s share in GMR Airports coming down in a bid to comply with the rules. The two investors’ shares will go up in GMR Airports, which runs Asia’s sixth biggest airport at Delhi as well as the Hyderabad airport. GIC will become the largest shareholder in the consortium.

In October 2019, the country’s antitrust agency, Competition Commission of India, had approved Tata and the two investors’ deal to purchase up to 55.2% in GMR Airports, subject to Tata carrying out certain modifications. Tata intends to route its investment in GMR Airports through Tata Realty and Infrastructure, while GIC will do it via Singapore-based Valkyrie, and SSG Capital through Solis, also based in Singapore. Promoter GMR Infrastructure is divesting a large stake in the airports business as it wants to deleverage its balance sheet.

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