WL Ross to invest Rs 345 cr in SpiceJet

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New Delhi, July 15 (UNI) US investor WL Ross&Co.LLC will invest about Rs 345 crore (about 80 million dollars) in low cost carrier SpiceJet, it was announced today.

The offer was approved by the Board of Directors of SpiceJet, India's second largest budget airline with 10 per cent market share.

Among those in the race to buy SpiceJet were Kingfisher and Jet Airways.

SpiceJet Board member Ajay Singh said the investment details would be made public only after the final documentation was completed by the next fortnight.

According to reports, WL Ross is expected to acquire foreign currency convertible bonds held by Goldman Sachs and the Dubai government's investment agency Istithmar.

The bonds will turn convertible in 2010 when WL Ross will become a stakeholder.

''This is a significant investment for SpiceJet to retain its low-cost model. This will strengthen SpiceJet and help it in its expansion plans,'' Mr Ajay Singh said in a statement.

Wecoming the deal, WL Ross Chairman Wilbur 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.'' Company's Managing Director Ranjeet Nabha said they would be delighted to contribute to the growth and developmet of SpiceJet.

Both Mr Ross and Mr Nabha are expected to join the Board of Directors of SpiceJet.

This would be WL Ross' second investment in India. In February last year, it acquired OCM India Ltd, a worsted suiting maker, for about 37 million dollars.

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