IndiGo Airline
Passengers stand at the ticket counter of Indigo Airlines at the airport on the outskirts of AgartalaReuters

World's leading carrier Qatar Airways has said that it is in discussions with Indian budget airline IndiGo to buy a stake in it as it denied reports of any such talks with SpiceJet.

"Qatar Airways confirms that the only airline it is talking to is the Indian carrier Indigo," the Doha-based airline told Reuters in a statement.

"Qatar Airways is not in talks to pursue a commercial stake in SpiceJet," the airline said, adding, "These stake sale comments are unfounded and are believed to be deliberately spread to influence share valuations."

Share prices of SpiceJet rose sharply in the past three trading sessions, touching a two-year closing high of Rs 26.60 on Tuesday. However, Tuesday's rally was partly led by the company's profit of Rs 71.80 crore in April-June quarter.

Last week, The Economic Times had reported that the ongoing discussions between SpiceJet and Qatar Airways over finalising a commercial agreement may end up in Qatar Airways buying a stake in the domestic airline.

In May, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker had evinced interest in acquiring 49% stake in IndiGo, but he had not confirmed any talks. He had then said that "IndiGo's owners had no immediate plans to sell".

Qatar Airways has been eyeing a stake in India's biggest airline IndiGo for a long. Owned by InterGlobe Enterprises, IndiGo had filed a draft prospectus with market regulator last month to issue an initial public offer (IPO).

If a deal is signed, the transaction will become the second such development in Indian aviation industry in two years. In 2013, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways had bought 24% stake in Jet Airways by investing Rs 20.6 billion ($332 million).

Buying a stake in IndiGo would enable Qatar Airways to expand its presence in the Indian aviation market and also to compete with its rivals Emirates and Etihad.

Aviation consultancy CAPA India has estimated IndiGo to become country's most profitable carrier, by posting a net profit in the range of $150- $175 million (₹1,111.6 crore) for the fiscal year ending March 2015.

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