Wednesday, February 16, 2022

SpiceJet back in black; challenges far from over

New Delhi: Amidst ongoing legal tussles which include a winding-up order, private carrier SpiceJet on Tuesday surprised everyone by reporting a net profit of Rs 23.28 crore for the quarter ending December (Q3FY22).

SpiceJet said that the airline reported profit despite ‘one-time exceptional adjustment’ of Rs 77.46 crore on account of settlement for Bombardier aircraft for the same period. In the year-ago period (Q3FY21), the company had reported a loss of Rs 57 crore while in the September quarter it had posted a loss of Rs 56 crore. SpiceJet also recorded a 74% increase in Q3FY22 revenues to Rs 2,679 crore as against Rs 1,539 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

SpiceJet bouncing back to profitability is a positive for the aviation sector, given market leader IndiGo had also reported profit in Q3, indicating recovery. However, SpiceJet continues to have a rough ride given its high accumulated loss (Rs 1,262 crore for the 9 months ended Dec 2021), liability (Rs 13,602 cr as on Dec 2021) and legal cases.

The airline faced a major blow on Monday when former promoter and media-mogul Kalanithi Maran declined its offer made for a one-time settlement to end the long-standing share-transfer dispute between the two parties. Maran’s lawyer informed the Supreme Court that the offer of Rs 600 crore made by SpiceJet is not found to be feasible as the total amount owed to Maran was around Rs 920 crore. The court scheduled the next hearing on March 2.  

The top court is hearing another case related to the non-payment of $24 million (Rs 180 cr) by SpiceJet to Swiss company Credit Suisse, in which the Madras High Court had permitted winding-up petition and directed the official liquidator to take over the assets of the airline. On Jan 28, the apex court gave SpiceJet three weeks’ time to settle the matter with the Swiss firm. SpiceJet, in its Q3 result said, the company is under discussion with Credit Suisse AG and “expects to settle the matter in the given time frame.”

16/02/22 New Indian Express

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