Monday, June 18, 2007

Mallya eyes Spicejet

UB group chairman Vijay Mallya, who also heads Kingfisher Airlines and acquired a 26-per cent stake in low-cost carrier Deccan Aviation, is now eying budget airline SpiceJet Ltd. In an interview with an international publication , IndiaĆ¢€™s flamboyant airline chief said he was considering a deal. Referring to his recent deals with Scottish whiskey major Whyte & Mackay and Indian low-cost airline Air Deccan, he said three deals in a row are not too many.

He said he is "interested" in acquiring the airline, which offers budget fares.

SpiceJet is India's second largest low-cost airline with a market share of nine per cent. It operates over 83 daily flights in 14 cities with 11 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

"I am certainly interested, and if you are asking me if I am talking about it, the answer is no. Am I going to get it? The answer is I don't know," reports quoted Mallya as saying.
Mallya's latest move is part of the consolidation taking place in the Indian skies. The aviation industry in India has already seen two mergers with Jet Airways taking over Air Sahara and the Indian Airlines being merged with Air-India.

Royal Holding Services owns 12.91% of SpiceJet, while Istithmar holds 13.42%,according to the website of the airline. The Tata group has about 8%stake in the airline, which owns 13 aircraft and plans to acquire 26 more by 2008. MallyaĆ¢€™s UB group acquired a 26% stake in Deccan Aviation that operates Air Deccan for Rs 550 crore two weeks ago. The group is now set to launch an open offer to acquire another 20% in Deccan.
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