* Delivery of new Boeing planes to begin in 2018
* Carrier losing money, eyeing possible investors
* Shares rise as much as 7.4 pct on Wednesday
By Devidutta Tripathy
HYDERABAD, March 12 Indian budget airline
SpiceJet Ltd has signed a deal with Boeing Co
to buy 42 737 MAX jets in a deal worth $4.4 billion at list
prices, the company said on Wednesday, sending its shares up
more than 7 percent.
The order, which Reuters first reported in January, could
help the loss-making Indian carrier, India's fourth-biggest
airline by market share, as it seeks new investors.
Delivery of the new jets will begin in 2018, S.L. Narayanan,
chief financial officer at SpiceJet's parent, Sun Group, told
reporters at an Indian air show in southern city of Hyderabad.
Payments for the order will be closer to the delivery date,
he said, declining to give further details on funding plans.
Narayanan said some payments for the latest order would be
adjusted against the 12 Boeing 737 NG planes from an ongoing
order SpiceJet will be swapping for 737 MAX.
SpiceJet, controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran's Sun
Group, is seen as a target for investors after India relaxed
restrictions on investment by foreign airlines. It has reported
interest from potential investors but has not named any.
The long-awaited fleet renewal and the possible stake sale
have become intertwined, industry sources have said, with the
airline seen as potentially more attractive once it gets the new
Like its domestic rivals, SpiceJet has been losing money on
the back of costly fuel and a weak rupee and India's
fourth-biggest airline by domestic market share has eyed new
planes and new investments to revive its fortunes.
Shares in SpiceJet rose as much as 7.4 percent after the
announcement, while the main Mumbai market index was up
0.4 percent. Shares of its local rival, Jet Airways Ltd
, were trading down 2.6 percent.
Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft offer fuel savings compared to
SpiceJet's existing fleet of current-generation Boeing 737s,
industry sources said in January.
SpiceJet reported a quarterly loss in February, hit by high
fuel costs and a weak local currency, and industry consultancy
the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation estimates it is on course
to post its biggest-ever annual loss.