SpiceJet says in advanced talks to get funding

NEW DELHI Tue May 20, 2014 12:09pm IST

Employees work inside a travel agency office besides a model of a SpiceJet aircraft in Ahmedabad February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

Employees work inside a travel agency office besides a model of a SpiceJet aircraft in Ahmedabad February 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - SpiceJet Ltd(SPJT.BO) said on Tuesday it was in "advanced" talks to get funding, days after the country's fourth-biggest carrier by domestic market share reported its biggest annual loss.

"We are in very advanced stages of a capital infusion discussion with an external entity that when completed will help us clean up our arrears and rebuild with confidence," SpiceJet said in a statement, without naming any company.

SpiceJet, controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran's Sun Group, has been seen as a potential target by foreign airlines after rules were eased in 2012 to allow foreign carriers to buy up to 49 percent in local airlines.

Last week, it reported net loss widened for the three months to March, and posted a record full-year net loss of 10.03 billion rupees ($171.5 million).

All but market leader IndiGo in India's six-player airlines industry are losing money, hit by high fuel prices, and below-cost sales in a highly competitive market.

SpiceJet, which this year placed an order for 42 Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 MAX jets worth more than $4 billion at list prices, had said earlier that it had received interest from potential investors, but has not named any.

SpiceJet also said in Tuesday's statement that it would be "going after cost optimisation on a war footing now", without giving details.

($1 = 58.4850 rupees)

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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