Thursday, February 23, 2006

Now, Vijay Mallya eyes SpiceJet

New Delhi/Mumbai:Though the promoters are vehemently denying it, the airspace is abuzz with talks of liquor baron and Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya -- having lost the race to buy Air Sahara -- now eyeing the no-frills rival, SpiceJet.
The purchase, market sources say, is part of Mallya's plans to grow his share of the domestic airline industry pie through the "inorganic route". Sources say Mallya has already initiated talks with institutional lenders to raise a line of credit for buying an unnamed domestic airline company.
Mallya's plan of action, sources say, is to initially acquire the 40 percent stake held by Royal Holdings -- a Nevada-based company floated by non-resident Indian Kansagra family -- in SpiceJet. Later, he plans to buy S K Modi family's stake which is under litigation, and slowly hike his holding to around 51 percent.
The liquor czar, however, denies any such move. Adds SpiceJet director Ajay Singh: "There's no plan to dilute any shareholding in SpiceJet and the Kansagra family is committed to this venture."But sources in Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines confirm that talks are underway for acquiring a listed airline company.
23/02 TMCnet