Wilbur Ross, Chairman, WL Ross, said he is happy with the price he has received from Kalanithi Maran for the SpiceJet stake. "We find the price to be very satisfactory to us. Rs47.25 per share is a fair price. It was the negotiated price, negotiated over quite a long time period. We think it's a fair price for the new owners to come in and a fair price for us to come out."
Ross is happy that the management was able to turn around the private airliner. "We are very happy that the new management team was able to turn around the company, to deliver its first profits ever. We had brought Sanjay Agarwal in as CEO to increase profits. Now, we think it is time for a new owner and a new group to take it to the next level."
He is confident that the Sun TV Promoter will do a good job. "Maran is an expert in dealing with consumers. He will be a good addition to the SpiceJet regime."
The legendary investor clarified that he was under no pressure to sell the stake. "The foreign currency convertible bonds were going to mature in December. Under Indian rules, we won't be able to convert all of it at once. This would have put us over the 14.9 per cent mark. Therefore, we would have to make an open tender just as is happening with the buyer here. We didn't want to get that much further involved into the company. We decided to find a solution that could be consummated prior to the maturity of the bonds. So, we felt the best solution was to find a very good strategic buyer and negotiate a transaction with him. ."
On the sector, he said the Indian aviation space will grow rapidly and do well. "Given the low per capita income, there is special need for low-cost carriers."
Ross has earmarked $1-billion worth of investments in India by 2011. He is bullish on consumer goods, financial services and manufacturing business.