Singh re-boards SpiceJet with Rs 1,500-cr deal; Marans out

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New Delhi: Cash-strapped SpiceJet on Thursday returned to original promoter Ajay Singh for its revival in a multi-layered deal worth up to Rs 1,500 crore, as Maran family agreed to cede control with transfer of over 53 per cent stake in the airline that has been struggling for months to survive.

Singh would get 53.48 per cent stake, currently worth about Rs 500 crore, in the airline from the Maran family, while an open offer for purchase of further 26 per cent from public shareholders (worth about Rs 250 crore) will be made if asked by the markets regulator Sebi.

Kalanithi Maran-led Sun Group would also infuse Rs 80 crore in the loss-making airline following conversion of their warrants, which would give them a 10 per cent minority stake.

Marans would remain invested with this stake in the airline, which they acquired over four years ago, as a public shareholder although they would cease to be its promoters.

Singh said that road ahead for SpiceJet is “pretty tough” and its turnaround could take 2-3 quarters, while adding that more than one investor can come on board for fund infusion.

SpiceJet Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor said he is looking forward to the carrier getting back to normalcy while some more steps may be taken for its revival.

“The ownership change in SpiceJet is a positive development. (We are) looking forward to get back to normalcy,” Kapoor told PTI.

The fresh lease of life marks the third change in ownership for the airline, which was founded in 2005 by Singh along with London-based Kansagra family of Indian origin.

US-based investor Wilbur Ross, known as a turnaround specialist, held a substantial stake for a brief period before selling it to Marans in 2010.

While the company did not disclose the financial details of the deal and revival plan, official sources said that the overall deal could be worth Rs 1,500 crore in three tranches.

The Sun Group officials and Singh also refused to comment on the specific financial implications of the deal, which has ended weeks of uncertainty about the carrier’s fate.

Marans’ exit from the ownership and management control follows months of financial crunch at the airline, which had to drastically curtail its fleet and flights beginning late last year. With a revival plan in place, sources said, the airline has been now allowed to take forward bookings.

The airline has been operating 230 flights a day, as against more than 340 before it ran into a crisis, which has also been attributed by some observers to troubles faced by the Maran family in telecom and other sectors, including for political reasons. .

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