Tapan Ray flies by Indigo to seal Gujarat Gas acquisition

Vol 16, PW 7 (18 Oct 12) People & Policy

Tapan Ray was so eager to sign GSPC’s Rs2463.8cr ($468m) takeover of BG subsidiary Gujarat Gas that not even hordes of sweaty passengers and bawling infants on a cheap Indigo Airlines flight from Delhi to Singapore could keep the GSPC managing director away from the secretive Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) signing on October 2.

“Tickets to Singapore were available only on Indigo,” confirms a senior GSPC source. “Ray didn’t want to waste time so he took the economy flight.

” GSPC general manager Ravindra Agarwal accompanied Ray to the signing in Singapore where they met Julian Kennedy, head of BG’s London-based M&A division. So hush-hush was the affair that neither BG India chief Shaleen Sharma nor Gujarat Gas managing director Sugata Sircar knew about it.

“Nobody at BG outside Kennedy’s department knew,” we hear. After trading pleasantries, Ray and Kennedy began signing the 1500-page SPA and 900-pg appendix at 6pm.

It took them over six hours to sign every page confirming the 65.12% stake sale. Yet there’s still much to do.

GSPC says it could take another six months to cement the sale; mandatory clearances from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) are awaited. Some find it bizarre Ray travelled to Singapore at all, given GSPC is the buyer.

“Ray wanted to sign the documents in Ahmedabad or Mumbai,” we hear. “But BG insisted on Singapore.

” Ray also suggested BG could sign the agreement in Singapore and send it by express post to Gandhinagar for him to sign, but BG refused.