Indian regulator defers Etihad-Jet approval talks

Foreign Investment Promotion Board postpones meeting to approve 24% stake sale deal

India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board has deferred a meeting to discuss Etihad Airways' investment in local carrier Jet, it has been reported.

Etihad is poised to buy a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways but needs approval of the deal from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board which was due to meet on Tuesday.

But the meeting has been postponed to Friday principally as the country's finance minister will not be available.

"Meeting of the FIPB scheduled to be held on Tuesday has been postponed and will now be held on Friday... The Agenda already circulated will remain," the Finance Ministry said in a note cited by Indian media.

Last week, the CEO of India's Jet Airways resigned less than two months after it agreed the Etihad deal.

The carrier said in a statement to the Indian stock market that Nikos Kardassis had stepped down from his role with effect from June 5.

Etihad's investment is the first by an overseas operator in an existing Indian carrier since the country relaxed ownership rules in September to allow foreign carriers to buy up to 49 percent in local airlines, which face stiff competition and high operating costs.

It gives Etihad a bigger foothold in fast-growing India and provide Jet, the country's largest carrier, with a deep-pocketed global partner as well as cash to retire debt that totalled $2.1bn at the end of December.

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