SpiceJet ‘s new promoter Ajay Singh has invested the first tranche of Rs 100 crore over this weekend and now, the next important date in the airline’s survival saga is February 15. As per the recapitalisation plan of Singh, which has been approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation last week, three important investment related events are expected by then. Singh and a consortium of investors has promised a total of Rs 1500 crore investment in the cash strapped airline in tranches.
1) The second tranche of Rs 400 crore investment from Singh and company is slated to come in by February 15.
2) Outgoing promoters, the Marans, are expected to complete conversion of some warrants for a total sum of close to Rs 300 crore by then.
3) Additionally, the Marans are also expected to pay close to Rs 370 crore in redeemable instruments in two tranches, the first of which is due by February 15. By this date, the Marans are to pay Rs 320 crore.
This last payment could well be a sort of hair cut that has been agreed upon as a part of the transaction which will see the Marans cashing out. Singh’s recapitalisation plan has been approved with these timelines but it remains to be seen if they are met, given extraneous challenges which abound for the incoming promoters.
To begin with, the crucial decision of market regulator Sebi about waiving an open offer for the acquisition of over 58 percent stake by Singh and his consortium from Marans is still pending. The ministry’s approval is merely for a change of management and is anyway subject to the acquirers adhering to FIPB/DIPP norms in respect of foreign airline investment. It is also subject to incoming directors on the airline’s board getting Home Ministry clearances for security. But it says nothing about whether an open offer by the incoming promoters can be waived – that decision has been left to Sebi.
Secondly, the airline has total liabilities of Rs 1580 crore and creditors will need a lot of patience in the coming days to get their dues back. According to the plan cleared by the Ministry, Spicejet owes Rs 187 crore to the Airports Authority of India, Rs 89 crore to other airports, Rs 143 crore to tax authorities, Rs 653 crore to aircraft lessors and Rs 508 crore to other creditors.
Thirdly, the airline needs to rework its costs and renegotiate contracts to be able to compete in an aggressive market.
Leasing companies have already made it clear that they are not playing the patience game. In all likelihood, they will be able to repossess 11 of the 19 Boeing 737 aircraft currently flying with the airline this week. They are only waiting for a decision from the DGCA on this matter.
If that happens, SpiceJet’s fleet will be severely curtailed and unless its negotiations with two other airlines for getting as many aircraft on fresh lease succeed, SpiceJet may be in a spot of trouble quickly enough.
SpiceJet stock price
On January 27, 2015, SpiceJet closed at Rs 22.60, up Rs 0.35, or 1.57 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 24.10 and the 52-week low was Rs 11.10.
The latest book value of the company is Rs -16.49 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company was -1.37.