India’s Tata Group seeks antitrust approval for Air India-Vistara merger


New Delhi (Reuters) – Indian conglomerate Tata Group has sought the competition regulator’s approval for a merger between its Air India airline and Vistara, the company’s joint venture with Singapore Airlines (SIA) (SIAL.SI).

The merger, announced in November, will create a stronger rival to India’s dominant carrier IndiGo (INGL.NS) and help SIA solidify its foothold in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets.

Tata will hold 51% of the total issued and paid-up equity share capital of the merged entity while SIA will own a 25.1% minority stake, according to a filing on the Competition Commission of India’s website on Wednesday.

Air India, founded by JRD Tata in 1932 and nationalised in 1953, was returned to the control of the Tatas in January last year. Once known for its lavishly decorated planes and stellar service, Air India’s reputation declined in the mid-2000s as financial troubles mounted.

Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran said in November that the merger was an important milestone in efforts to rebuild Air India into a “world-class airline”.

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