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Maran to exit SpiceJet

New Delhi/Chennai,Aug 8 (): SpiceJet’s major stakeholder Kalanithi Maran is scouting around for potential buyers to sell his entire stake in the low-cost airline.

Maran was earlier looking for investors who will pick up a stake and thereby infuse funds. Now, he appears to be looking to exit the airline as it posted a record loss of Rs. 1003.24 crore in the last FY.

SpiceJet has 15 Bombardier Q400 aircraft and 38 Boeing 737 with a market share of 19% ; it is rated India’s second-biggest-low-fare airline. SpiceJet formerly Royal Airways was rebranded and formed in Feb. 2005.

Ajay Singh, Sanjay Malhotra and the London-based Kansagra family were the promoters and it was a no frills flight operating in Mumbai- Delhi-Ahmadabad-Goa-Bangalore-Pune sector. SK Modi-promoted ModiLuft became SpieceJet.

Later, Emirates fund equity bought convertible bonds in the airline since non-Indian investments in airlines were then not allowed. As the lock-in period ended, Kansagra group decided to exit as the turbulence in aviation had started but not headed for a crash.

Vijaya Mallya and ADAG were the bidders. Wilbur Ross who invests in troubled companies and sells them when they are doing good had around $68 million worth convertible bonds in the company. Maran’s KAL Airways made a bid to buy out all the major stakeholders. Maran finally got 37.5% stake for Rs 750 crore as Kansagra and Ross sold out. His share rose to 53%.

Sources said Maran was in talks with Ajay Singh, former SpiceJet director and other private equity players for selling out his 53.48% stake in the airline. The airline has a loss of Rs 2194 crore and a debt of Rs 1738 crore as on March 2014.

In the last FY March 2014, it needed $250 million to balance the accounts. The first quarter loss could be around Rs 90 crore.

Kalanithi Maran along with his brother Dayanidhi Maran is likely to face a CBI charge-sheet on money laundering in Aircel-Maxis deal.