Etihad, NIIF submit EoI for Jet; Goyal pledges shares with PNB

Forum Gandhi, K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on April 11, 2019

Naresh Goyal, the former chairman, has pledged 26.1% of shares with PNB as “security for new/existing borrowings taken by Jet Airways “   -  PTI

Think Equity, Redcliffe Capital and Adi Partners among potential bidders

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, private equity firms Think Equity along with Redcliffe Capital, and Indian government-backed National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) have submitted Expressions of Interest (EoI) with SBI Capital Markets to acquire a majority stake in Jet Airways.

Other prospective bidders including AirCanada, Qatar’s Erigo Trading & Contracting WLL and Adi Partners have also reached out to lenders with queries but are yet to submit a formal proposal.

Top sources close to the bidding process told BusinessLine: “NIIF placed its EoI on Wednesday and Etihad sent in its EoI on Thursday. The lenders are expecting a few more interests by tomorrow.” Lenders led by State Bank of India had extended the last date for submitting the EoI from April 10 to April 12 after several international players sought more time to go through the bid document.

NIIF is India’s first sovereign wealth fund that was set up by the government in February 2015. It manages $3 billion of capital commitments across three funds. The Abu-Dhabi Investment Authority has invested $1 billion in the fund. The lenders had waived off some of the qualification criteria to enable government-promoted funds/quasi-sovereign wealth funds to submit EoI.

Queries sent to Etihad, Think Equity, Redcliffe Capital and AirCanada remained unanswered. However, Haksar CH, Director of Erigo Trading & Contracting WLL, said, “We did reach out to members of SBI and Jet Airways to get clarifications; however, it may not be possible for us to bid for the airline as the time given to bid is too less.”

Meanwhile, Naresh Goyal, the former chairman and the current promoter of Jet Airways who held 51 per cent stake in the airline, on Thursday pledged 26.1 per cent of shares with Punjab National Bank as “security for new/existing borrowings taken by Jet Airways India Ltd”.

Goyal was expected to submit the EoI for the airline but has not done so far. Goyal 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.

Lenders will examine bids

After all the EoIs are received on Friday, 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 (NDA) 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, subject to the terms set out under the bid document,” SBI Capital Markets said in a notice posted on its website.

Published on April 11, 2019

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