Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Jet saga: Lenders make contingency plan in case of no bids

Vodafone Idea Vodafone Group Plc has pledged its entire 44.39 percent stake in Vodafone Idea worth over Rs 18,000 crore with seven foreign banks. The development comes after the country's largest telco Vodafone Idea issued new shares following its 25,000 Jet Airways staff in Mumbai says they’re willing to work for less salary
Russell Knight | 13 May, 2019, 11:43

Etihad, which acquired 24 percent stake in Jet in 2013, is interested in re-investing in the airline, subject to certain conditions, a spokesman for the Middle Eastern carrier said earlier on Friday.

SBI has invited binding bids for a stake in the airline that is saddled with roughly $1.2 billion in bank debt and that has been struggling with mounting losses as it tried to compete with low-priced rivals. The bank's Chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Friday that in the loan book of Rs 23 lakh crore, Jet's account adds only 7 basis points to the gross non-performing assets.

The lenders, led by State Bank which now owns 51 per cent in the airline, had invited EoIs between April 8 and 12 and had received four preliminary bids.

Lenders had put 75% stake of Jet Airways on sale. In a letter to State Bank of India last month, the group said they would model their efforts on employee-led turnarounds like that of United Airlines in 1994.

The lenders also received three unsolicited bids including one from its employees, banking sources said.

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As per informed sources, at least three unsolicited bids have been received.

"The company is not involved in the bidding process and has no information with regard to same and is accordingly not in a position to comment", the airline said in a filing. The lenders' consortium had also announced that it would infuse emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore to keep Jet Airways afloat, but this money was never transferred, leading to Jet sinking into a deeper financial crisis and eventually causing its temporary shutdown on April 18.

"It is once again advised to abide by the statutory requirement of the Act & Scheme and report compliance to undersigned to avoid above unpleasant action against Establishment and responsible persons", EPFO assistant PF Commissioner Dilip K. Rathod has written to Jet Airways.

If a deal fails to materialise, the airline could be dragged into bankruptcy by creditors, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Any investors in the debt-ravaged Jet Airways must weigh the sector's growth prospects against India's high jet-fuel prices and a crushing fare war worsened by the entry of no-frills carriers.

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