Jet jumps on Etihad deal hope; Kingfisher shares fall

MUMBAI Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:22pm IST

1 of 2. Ground staff guide a Jet Airways aircraft towards a gate on the tarmac at Bengaluru International Airport in Bangalore March 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Shares of Jet Airways (JET.NS) jumped as much as 4.7 percent on Monday to their highest in nearly two years on hopes Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will buy a stake in the carrier.

Mint Newspaper reported on Monday that Etihad may decide as early as this week whether it will invest in Jet Airways or in grounded rival Kingfisher Airlines (KING.NS), citing two people familiar with the matter.

Mint also quoted one of the people as saying Jet Airways had the edge in terms of attracting Etihad's investment.

Jet and Kingfisher declined to comment. Etihad officials were not immediately available to comment.

Jet is already in talks with Etihad to sell a minority stake in the airline, a government official had told Reuters last month, while Kingfisher has said it was also talking with the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, among others.

Any Etihad deal would be the first since India in September allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent in a domestic carrier.

Jet Airways shares had gained 4 percent as of 11.30 a.m. to the highest level since January 2011 after surging 18 percent over the prior four sessions.

By contrast, Kingfisher shares fell 2 percent, snapping nine previous consecutive sessions of gains.

(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky; Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Ken Wills)

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