A consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday invited expressions of interest (EoIs) to buy a stake in financially-strapped Jet Airways and said prospective bidders will need to settle the airline's existing debt.
SBI Capital Markets, a subsidiary of SBI, said bidders are required to submit EoIs for up to 75 per cent stake in Jet by 6 pm on April 10.
Individuals, including foreign nationals, as well as a consortium of up to three companies are allowed to bid for a stake in the airline subject to Indian laws, said the notice issued by SBI Capital Markets.
A strategic bidder should have a net worth of at least Rs 1,000 crore in the preceding financial year, or at least three years of experience in the airline business. "If the bidder is a financial institution, then it should have a minimum assets under management of Rs 2,000 crore in the immediately preceding completed financial year."
Foreign ownership of airlines in India is capped at 49 per cent. According to reports, Jet has a debt of more than Rs 8,500 crore besides unpaid dues to aircraft lessors, employees and suppliers.
On March 25, Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita holding 51 per cent of the equity resigned from the board and transferred control to the lenders. An interim management committee has been created to manage and monitor daily operations and cash flow.
The 25-year-old airline, which shattered Air India's monopoly, has been surviving while facing bruising competition from low-cost airlines and fluctuating crude oil prices.
On April 3, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola had said that Jet is operating less than 15 planes and its eligibility to fly on international routes needs to be examined.