ICICI Ventures looking to offload its Deccan Aviation stake?

ICICI Ventures may be looking to exit from its holding in Deccan Aviation, the company that owns low cost airline Air Deccan. ICICI Ventures holds 6.78 per cent in the airline through Western India Trustee and Executor Co.

Now the company is looking at two options; of tendering the shares as part of the Kingfisher Airlines open offer, or selling them in secondary market through a block deal, according to a report on by CNBC-TV18.

The problem with the open offer is that it is inefficient on the tax and execution front, Besides, it is not necessary that all the shares that ICICI Ventures tenders in the open offer might be accepted by Kingfisher, which has made an open offer for up to 20 per cent of the company.

For Vijay Mallya, it''s another stroke of good luck. He has made the open offer just at a time when PE investor ICICI Ventures wants out. Sources said that despite its impressive market share, Deccan Aviation is not quite the story that ICICI Ventures wants to continue betting on.

Even as ICICI Ventures declined to comment, sources said its timing may be just right, considering that there is a strong demand for the stock on following the open offer. But will it bite the bait?

Experts say tendering shares in an open offer is often not the best option, for two reasons. First, it attracts a tax, since the transaction is executed outside the exchange. Second, all the shares it tenders may not be accepted in the open offer.

In April this year, ICICI Ventures sold 3.25 per cent of its stake to UBS. Since then, the balance 11-per cent stake has come down to just about 7 per cent now. Parent ICICI Bank also holds 1.05 per cent in Deccan Aviation. ICICI Ventures declined to comment.