Etihad’s offer not good enough to revive Jet

Forum Gandhi / K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on May 13, 2019 Published on May 13, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo   -  REUTERS

Lenders looking to rope in other investors to prevent insolvency

Lenders to Jet Airways are discussing the possibility of forming a consortium between Etihad Airways and two other entities who had submitted unsolicited expressions of interest after the deadline for bidding had expired. This comes after SBI opened the bid submitted by the Etihad on Monday and found it way short of expectations.

“Etihad was the only one to submit a formal bid within the stipulated timeframe but its offer falls short of the lenders’ expectation. This bid alone will not suffice to revive the airline,” said a source close to the development. While SBI did not give any details of the Etihad bid, sources said the Abu Dhabi-based airline is keen to stay on as a minority investor, that too if the lenders are willing to take a massive haircut on the ₹14,000-crore debt.

SBI Caps had shortlisted four expressions of interest — from Etihad Airways, TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and NIIF. Etihad was the only bidder on May 10. There were a couple of unsolicited bids that have been placed which the lenders may now examine. In addition to the proposal by the employees of Jet, a UK-based entrepreneur has also offered to acquire the airline. Even if this plan works out, the banks will have to pump in working capital to help the company get back on its feet.

On Friday, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier had said it was willing to invest as a minority stakeholder and maintain its stake at 24 per cent.

NIIF may pitch in

Sources had suggested that NIIF was likely to team up with Etihad but so far there has been no move by the sovereign fund.

Jet temporarily shut down operations on April 18, which left its 22,000 employees stranded. The airline has not paid salaries to its employees for the past two to four months.

Meanwhile, the Regional Labour Commissioner has advised the management “to arrange for payment of pending dues to employees of all categories of Jet Airways.”

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Published on May 13, 2019
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