The company said t is willing to run the facility provided the company is invited by the Maldivian government

The GMR group, which is embroiled in a legal tussle with the Maldivian government over the Male airport issue, on Thursday said it is willing to run the facility provided the company is invited by that country.

According to GMR Chairman, GM Rao, their exit from the island nation was ‘political’ and the arbitration for $ 1.4 billion compensation will continue in the Singapore Court.

“If (Maldivian) government asks us to run the airport, we will run. We will have to do it. We have made a claim for $ 1.4 billion compensation. If they invite us, we are ready to do it,” Mr. Rao told reporters on the sidelines an event.

On November 27 last year, Maldives had terminated the $ 500-million-plus contract (awarded to GMR during the previous regime headed by Mohamed Nasheed) to upgrade the Male airport and to build a new terminal.

Following this, GMR went into arbitration in Singapore seeking compensation of $ 1.4 billion for the “wrongful termination” of a 25-year contract to develop and operate the Male airport.

Recently, Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayoom took over as president of Maldives after a clinching victory in the elections.

When asked if any negotiations are being held to take over the operations of the airport again, Mr. Rao said they made a success story in Maldives but political issues played “spoilsport”.

On listing of GMR Group’s airports vertical, he said they will hit the markets once they show good signs.

“We are trying to list (airport verticals). All airports are under a holding company. Once the market is good, either locally or globally (we will go for listing), we have not yet decided (listing will be in domestic or international markets),” he said.

Mr. Rao denied any move to sell their stake in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport.

“We don’t have any such plans. These are all rumours. Our strategy is portfolio management and we are just working out a portfolio strategy, not selling stake,” he explained.

GMR operates airports in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Istanbul in Turkey in partnership with other companies. The company, which has over Rs. 40,000-crore debt on its books, has adopted an asset right asset-light model to reduce its debt.

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