New Delhi: The much ambitious venture of Vijay Mallya, Kingfisher airlines is facing testing times. Company has been cash–strapped and stuggled for continuing its operations which led to regular cancellation of flights. The shares are being hit as investors have also seem to have lost interest in the venture.

The promoter holding in Vijay Mallya-led UB group's Kingfisher Airlines has slipped below the psychological level of 50 percent for the first time in about four years.
   
While over 90 percent of promoters' total shares in the troubled air carrier are pledged with the lenders, their total holding has now dropped to 47.28 percent, from 50.20 percent at the end of last quarter ended March 31, 2012.
   
After taking into account the shares pledged by the promoters, their total holding of non-encumbered shares account for a mere 4.67 percent stake in Kingfisher Airlines, as per the latest shareholding data filed by it with the BSE.
   
While the promoters continue to hold the same number of shares (about 29 crore), their holding has come down in percentage terms due to increase in Kingfisher's total number of shares, which in turn, has happened because of conversion of certain convertible bonds into equity last week.
   
The promoters' holding has not declined because of any sale of shares by them in the airline.
   
Burdened under a huge debt pile, Kingfisher has been flying through turbulent times for many months now and its market value has seen a significant erosion of more than two-third in the past one year.
   
Its shares hit an all-time low of Rs 13 last week on April 25 and are currently trading just over Rs 15 level.
   
The promoters' overall stake in the airline last stood below 50 percent level about four years ago on June 30, 2008.
   
Analysts say that a holding below 50 percent level as such does not trigger any risks for the promoters of a listed company, as non-promoter holding is generally widely dispersed among a large number of shareholders.
   
A high or low promoter holding has, at the most, has some psychological values attached to it, they added.
Any acquisition threat arises only after some other entity gets a higher stake than the promoters, and that too of at least 25 percent as per the takeover regulations.
   
Speculations have been doing the rounds for a long time that some strategic or financial investors could acquire stake in Kingfisher, while there have also been talks of some 'white knight' coming to the rescue of crisis-hit airline.
   
The term 'white knight' is used for a friendly investor, who buys a sizeable stake from promoter or public investors in a listed entity facing outside takeover threats.
   
Besides Kingfisher, the promoter holding is below 50 percent in three other UB group companies as well. These include McDowell Holdings (42.52 percent), United Spirits (27.78 percent) and Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers (30.44 percent).
   
In addition, the promoter holding is just over 50 percent level in UB Holdings (51.5 percent), while it is much higher in United Breweries Ltd (74.82 percent).

(JPN/Agencies)