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SpiceJet moves Supreme Court against HC order on dispute with Kal Airways

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-07-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: The fight between Ajay Singh-controlled SpiceJet Ltd and Kalanithi Maran,  a former promoter of the airline, has escalated further with the budget airline challenging a Delhi high court order asking it to deposit about Rs529 crore in a share transfer dispute.  

SpiceJet has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against Maran-promoted Kal Airways, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing documents published on the Supreme Court’s website. 

Spokespersons for SpiceJet and Kal Airways declined to comment.

Maran and Kal Airways had transferred their entire 58.46% stake in SpiceJet, amounting to 350.4 million shares, to its co-founder Singh in February 2015, leading to a change in ownership of the airline.

Under the share purchase agreement, Kal Airways and Maran were to receive redeemable warrants in return for the Rs690 crore they spent on SpiceJet towards operating costs and debt payments.

This did not happen as approvals were not granted by capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) which had expressed its inability before the court to approve the board resolution passed by SpiceJet for issue of warrants in favour of Maran and Kal Airways.

On 3 July, Delhi HC directed SpiceJet to set aside Rs250 crore as cash and another Rs329 crore as bank guarantee on or before 31 August even as the matter undergoes resolution. 

Thereafter, the Marans have sought Rs2,000 crore in compensation in an arbitration tribunal from Singh and the airline for allegedly causing losses by failing to honour the agreement, according to a 11 July report in The Economic Times. SpiceJet has disputed this claim. 

The airline currently has about Rs350 crore of cash on its books. Singh’s nearly 60% stake is worth Rs4,000 crore.  Aviation consulting firm CAPA said SpiceJet decision to go to SC was a good move.

“This is on expected lines and a good decision,” CAPA South Asia CEO Kapil Kaul said, “It is now logical to expect an out-of-court settlement.” 

Priyanka Mittal contributed to the story

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