SpiceJet Flies Over 16% as Ajay Singh Explores Possibility of a Partial Stake Sale

Shares of private carrier SpiceJet soared over 16 per cent after it was said to be in active talks with a middle eastern aviation company for a possible sale of the stake. The big middle eastern company has expressed its interest to buy a 24 per cent stake at SpiceJet and get a seat on the board of the company, reports by multiple news outlets suggested.

As per reports by ET Now and CNBC TV18, SpiceJet is also in talks with a large Indian conglomerate, which has approached the carrier’s promoter Ajay Singh for a stake sale. Singh, who currently holds 60 per cent stake at SpiceJet, is exploring possibilities of a partial sale of the same.

“The company continues to be in discussions with various investors to secure sustainable financing,” a SpiceJet spokesperson was quoted as saying by CNBC TV18. The spokesperson further added that the company will make “appropriate disclosures in accordance with applicable regulations”.

Shares of SpiceJet jumped more than 16 per cent on the BSE to Rs 51.60 apiece in Wednesday’s early deals after the reports of the possibility of stake sale. The airline stock is down over 23.95 per cent in 2022 (YTD) so far, whereas in a year’s period the counter has declined about 30.65 per cent.

After SpiceJet disclosed that it had reached a deal with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and paid off all outstanding principal balances owed to the airport operator, its stock price increased by 5 per cent on August 2, 2022, as well.

SpiceJet was placed on a “cash and carry” basis by the AAI in 2020 because the airline was unable to pay its past dues. In the “cash and carry” arrangement, the airline was required to pay the AAI on a daily basis for a variety of fees associated with running flights, including navigation, landing, parking, and others.

SpiceJet’s ability to clear the pending dues reflects the airline’s improved cash flow in recent times.

In another big boost for the airline, AAI will release SpiceJet’s Rs 50 crore bank guarantee following the airline clearing all its principal dues. That will result in additional liquidity for the airline, SpiceJet had said in a statement.

However, due to a number of issues and certain pilots’ failure to follow required training standards, SpiceJet has recently experienced a very tumultuous period.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the industry watchdog, stopped 90 pilots of the airline from flying Boeing 737 Max aircraft in April 2022 after discovering they were not properly educated.

The aviation regulator directed the airline to retrain the pilots and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh since the pilots were trained on a defective simulator.

Numerous mishaps involving SpiceJet and other carrier aircraft that either returned to their originating station or proceeded landing at the destination with reduced safety margins were reported this year.

Following at least eight cases of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19, the aviation regulator DGCA ordered SpiceJet to run a maximum of 50