The stock of SpiceJet jumped over 7 per cent on the BSE on speculation of a stake sale following the resignation of Kalanithi Maran and his wife, Kavery, from Kal Airways, one of the promoter entities of the airline.

However, the SpiceJet CFO was quoted by agencies as saying that Kalanithi Maran resigned from the board as he wanted to manage his time more effectively, and that this had nothing to do with selling stake in the company. But the stock retained the gains despite the clarification and over one crore shares changed hands.

Analysts point out that recent events in shareholding and board composition at SpiceJet do not suggest an imminent exit by promoters.

On the contrary, they seem to be aimed at consolidating promoter holding and control in the airline. Promoter stake in SpiceJet increased from 38.6 per cent as on September 2011 to 48.59 per cent as on September 2012. In April, S. Natrajhen (formerly with Sun TV and erstwhile COO of SpiceJet) was appointed whole-time director, designated as Executive Director. Similarly, R. Ravivenkatesh (also on the Sun TV board) was appointed a Director.

He acquired 16,000 shares (0.0033 per cent). At the AGM in September 2012, both were re-appointed, and Natrajhen was re-designated Managing Director.

In October, Kal Airways Pvt Ltd also released from pledge a portion of its shares in SpiceJet.

On the business front, things are looking up. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which raised a price target on the SpiceJet stock to Rs 46 (from the earlier Rs 42) said: “We expect SpiceJet to post healthy profits in Q3-FY13 on account of the holiday season.”

It also expects softer ATF prices to result in marginal benefits for SpiceJet.

badrinarayanan.ks@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 21, 2012)
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