Ross boards SpiceJet

American distress fund owner Wilbur Ross would invest $80 million in SpiceJet. Keen to retain its identity, SpiceJet chose the American billionaire over UB Group chief Vijay Mallya, who was offering a share swap and would have merged it with his airline, Kingfisher. Other big names had also shown interest in SpiceJet, which was looking for $100 million to keep afloat and also to fund aircraft acquisition.Ross’s investment is likely to come in two forms—picking up foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs), equity of current investors as well as some fresh equity. SpiceJet had deposited funds against these FCCBs held by investors like Goldman Sachs and Istithmar as they are likely to encash the bond instead of converting them into shares. Once Ross buys these bonds, the money locked against them would be available for the airline. Ross will convert the bonds into shares. The total equity picked up by Ross will remain below 15% to avoid trigerring an open offer. Even as the Sensex tanked, the airline’s scrip surged 16% in the morning trade.The infusion of funds has come as a big relief to SpiceJet. Ross exuded confidence in the Indian “low cost carrier” model. This is his second investment in India. Last year, Ross had acquired apparel maker OCM India.

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