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FII stakes in KFA up marginally during March quarter

FIIs have been reducing their exposure over the past few quarters in Kingfisher Airlines

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Overseas investors, which have been trimming their holdings in in the past three quarters, have increased their stake marginally in the cash-strapped carrier during the March quarter, according to data available with bourses.

An analysis of shareholding patterns of airlines showed that Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have increased their stakes both in Kingfisher and Jet Airways in three months ended March 2012.

However, the shareholding pattern of SpiceJet was not available.

FIIs have been reducing their exposure over the past few quarters in Kingfisher Airlines, which is grappling with severe cash crunch amid large scale flight cancellations.

According to data available with the stock exchanges, FII holdings in the Vijay Mallya-led airline has climbed to 0.71% at the end of March quarter 2011 from 0.5% in the preceding three months.

Their stake in Kingfisher had stood at 2.11% in the September quarter and 3.02% in June 2011 quarter.

Jet Airways — the country's largest carrier in terms of passenger carriage — also witnessed an increase in at 6.72% during the quarter under review, compared to 5.42% in the three months to December, 2011.

In the September quarter, FII ownership in Jet Airways was 4.67%.

Market analysts attributed increase in FII holdings in the airlines stocks to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's proposal in the Union Budget in March to allow local airlines to raise working capital through external commercial borrowings (ECBs).

Overseas investors are also hopeful the government could soon allow foreign carriers to invest in local airlines.

However, in the past few quarters, airline stocks in general have become less attractive. Marketmen have attributed this to high operational costs due to a surge in fuel prices and the rupee depreciation.

The scrips of the two airline firms were trading with gains in a positive market today.

In the afternoon trade, Kingfisher Airlines was up 0.96% to trade at Rs 15.85 on the BSE and Jet Airways was quoting at Rs 337.35 apiece, with a gain of 1.43%.

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