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Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal puts in bid

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on April 13, 2019 Published on April 12, 2019

Naresh Goyal, Founder, Jet Airways

At least five entities have expressed interest in acquiring a majority stake in Jet Airways

Naresh Goyal, founder of Jet Airways, has put in his bid late on Friday night minutes before the deadline ended. It is not clear if Goyal has bid on his own or in partnership with another investor

At least five entities — Etihad Airways, the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), a consortium of Redcliffe Capital and Think Equity, TPG Capital and Indigo Partners — have expressed interest in acquiring a majority stake in Jet Airways.

The lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) are yet to announce the names of those who have submitted the expression of interest.

This comes after the Prime Minister’s Office called for an urgent meeting with the top officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry and lenders on Friday to take stock of the deteriorating operating conditions of the Indian airline. Jet Airways, on Friday, said it has suspended all its international operations till Monday afternoon. On Thursday, Jet Airways had said that it has grounded 10 more airlines as it could not settle the dues of the lessors. The airline’s operating fleet has come down to 11 aircraft on Friday, which will further fall to six aircraft on Saturday. At its peak, the airline had around 120 operational aircraft.

Meanwhile, more than five per cent stake of the cash-strapped airline has been pledged with SBICap Trustee Company. No other details on this transaction was available. On Thursday, Naresh Goyal had pledged its 26 per cent stake in the company as security for loans from Punjab National Bank.

Goyal recently gave up the chairmanship of Jet Airways, which he founded more than 25 years ago, under a debt restructuring plan as part of which the lenders have taken control of the carrier.

Now, the lenders will examine the eligibility of all those who have expressed interest. Thereafter, the eligible bidders will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement after which the company will be given some time to examine the books of the airline. The qualified bidders will be expected to submit their respective binding bid(s) latest by April 30.

Employees stage protest

The next two weeks will be crucial for the employees of Jet Airways as they have not been paid salaries for 2-3 months. The employees’ association staged a protest march in Mumbai on Friday, and later in the evening, lodged a complaint with the Sahar police station. The pilots have also decided to hold an open house on April 15 to seek clarity from the management.

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Published on April 12, 2019
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