Oman SWF in talks with India’s SpiceJet – report

Dubai’s Emirates last week denied reports it was interested in no frills carrier

Oman’s sovereign wealth fund is among the parties in talks to take a shareholding in Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet, it was reported.

Business newspaper LiveMint, citing an individual involved in negotiations, said that Oman Investment Fund was joined by a number of other Middle Eastern funds, foreign airlines and an Indian conglomerate.

Earlier this month Dubai’s Emirates Airline denied reports it was in talks to acquire a stake in the Chennai-based carrier, which has also been linked to tie-ups with Qatar Airways and Kuwait Airways. A deal is said to not be imminent.

“There are a few Middle-Eastern funds, including Oman Investment Fund, currently talking to the company. In all likelihood, it will be a strategic investor who will do the transaction, with backing from PE (private equity) investors,” the source was quoted as saying. “The deal is not near a closure right now. It will take time.”

Oman Investment Fund currently has about $6bn worth of assets under management. It invests in sectors including transport, telecommunications and utilities.

Debt-laden SpiceJet’s CEO Neil Mills resigned last month, bolstering speculation that the carrier’s shareholders were paving the way for a tie-up with a third party airline.

Mills told Arabian Business last year that SpiceJet had held preliminary talks with unspecified Gulf carriers.

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