High net-worth individuals (HNIs) continued their buying spree in Kingfisher Airlines shares in September quarter, even as the carrier remained grounded for over a year after its licence was suspended.

However, small investors (individuals with shares worth over Rs 1 lakh) and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) reduced their respective exposure to beleaguered airlines in the quarter that ended September 30.

They raised their stake in the cash-strapped company to 20.3 per cent at the end of the September quarter from 19.52 per cent in the preceding three months, as per stock exchanges data.

HNIs have been raising their respective stakes in Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher since April-June quarter of 2012.

Besides, the latest shareholding data of Kingfisher shows that the number of HNI shareholders have also increased considerably during this time. The number of HNI shareholders stand at 4,404 from 4,269.

Burdened under huge losses and large debts, the airline stopped flying in October 2012 and its flying licence also lapsed about two months later.

Lenders have also begun their recovery process for close to Rs 8,000 crore worth loans. The company’s accumulated losses have ballooned to over Rs 16,000 crore. Kingfisher is yet to make profit since starting operations in 2005.

The company currently carries a market value of more than Rs 450 crore, from a peak valuation of close to Rs 10,000 crore at one point of time. Its shares are currently trading below below Rs 6, from close to Rs 20 late last year. It was near Rs 75 per share even few years ago.

Small investors (defined as those holding up to Rs 1 lakh worth shares in a company), trimmed their holding marginally in Kingfisher to 22.34 per cent during July-September from 22.41 per cent in the April-June quarter, while FIIs’ stake declined to 0.02 per cent from 0.07 per cent.

According to the company’s shareholding pattern, the six promoters together hold over 32 per cent stake, although nearly 90 per cent of their holding is pledged with lenders.

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