India's SpiceJet eyes domestic low-cost carriers

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India's SpiceJet is mulling over the purchase of a rival domestic airline in the coming year as part of its expansion plans.

"We are looking at inorganic growth," CEO Sanjay Aggarwal said in an interview with Indian newspapers. He added that a low-cost carrier would be a preferred acquisition.

A SpiceJet spokeswoman confirmed the comments. She added that the airline has a strong cash position and that it would be able to raise the necessary funds if it "found value in another Indian carrier".

The airline is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, and it sold a stake in the business to US private equity firm WL Ross & Company for around $80 million last year,

SpiceJet has previously been linked with low-cost carriers GoAir and IndiGo, although the company has denied holding talks about a possible merger with them in the past.

The airline has a fleet of 19 Boeing 737-800/900ER aircraft and four more 737s are to be delivered in 2010. It plans to launch international services using its 737s in May 2010 and serve Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Gulf states.

It is also looking into the viability of setting up a feeder airline in India, but these plans have not been firmed up yet.