Mumbai, Jul 15: Ending the suspense over attracting fresh investment, low cost carrier SpiceJet today announced in principle acceptance of USD 80 million (Rs 345 crore approximately) from global private equity investor WL Ross and Co.
The Airline Board, which saw the exit of its Executive Chairman Sidhanta Sharma in the midst of its talks with prospective investors approved the investment offer from Ross today with the transaction subject to definite documentation and approval. The proposal also puts to an end over the efforts of liquor baron and Kingfisher Airline owner Vijay Mallya to claim a stake in SpiceJet.
In a release here SpiceJet Board members Bhulo Kansagra and Ajay Singh welcomed the news of WL Ross attraction to the Airline and said, ''WL Ross is one of the largest and the most experienced investor in the world. They have extensive experience of investing in the aviation sector. With this investment, we have no doubt that SpiceJet will fulfill its promise of emerging as India's leading airline.''
Commenting on the Deal Chairman and CEO of WL Ross, Wilber L Ross Jr said, ''We believe in the long term validity of the low cost airline model in India and that fuel prices eventually will stabilise.'' Mr Ross and Mr Ranjeet Nabha, Managing Director&CEO of WL Ross India Nabha, were expected to join the Board of Directors of SpiceJet.
This would be WL Ross' second investment in India. In February 2007, it had acquired OCM India Limited, a worsted suiting maker, for around USD 37 million.
With a ten per cent market share, SpiceJet was the second largest domestic budget airline operating 95 flights daily with a fleet of 15 aircraft.