Six entitiies for Jet EoI; stake sale up to 75%

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 09, 2019 11:12 hrs
A Jet Airways passenger aircraft takes-off from the airport in Ahmedabad

New Delhi/Mumbai: Global private equity firm TPG Capital and international airline such as Lufthansa are among six entities who are believed to have shown interest in the "expression of interest" stake sale process of the debt-ridden Jet Airways, sources said.

The development comes as lenders of the debt-ridden airline invited EoI for stake sale in the airline to recover their dues worth Rs 8,000 crore.

Sources said that TPG Capital, private equity firm KKR, Blackstone, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Delta-Air France-KLM are among the companies approached by the lenders.

When contacted, a Tata Group spokesperson, said: "We don't comment on market speculation."

As per the document issued by the State Bank of India (SBI), the lead lender in the consortium, it offered stake from 31.2 to 75 per cent of the company on a fully diluted basis.

However, it was not known whether ex-Chairman Naresh Goyal or major equity owner Etihad Airways would be selling their stake on a pro-rata basis.

The airline owes Rs 8,000 crore to lenders, led by the SBI. On March 25, Goyal had stepped down from the board of the airline and ceded majority control to the SBI-led consortium.

The consortium of banks then appointed SBI Caps to take out the EoI and conduct the process of their stake sale in the airline.

"The lenders, pursuant to the guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India, are in the process of formulation of a resolution plan for resolving stress in the company, inter alia, involving change in control and management of the company," the EOI document said.

The purpose of the EoI is to provide information about the company to enable interested parties to make assessment about the proposal prior to the submission of their bids.

The time period for submission of EoI is till 6 p.m. on April 10.

Monday's development comes after lenders last week said that they intend to pursue the bank-led resolution plan for the airline under the present legal and regulatory framework. This came after the Supreme Court decided to annul a February 12, 2018 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular on bad debts.

The judgement was seen as a major setback for the resolution process. In a statement, the consortium said: "The lenders intend to pursue the bank-led resolution plan for sale of stake in the company in a time-bound manner under the present legal and regulatory framework and intend to invite expressions of interest."

As per the lenders' statement, all efforts will be made for the stake sale and other options may be considered by them should these efforts not result in an acceptable outcome.

The lenders did not divulge any information about the present funding needs of the airline. Jet Airway's former Chairman Goyal had earlier said he has cooperated fully and facilitated the bank-led resolution programme for the company.

On March 25, Goyal had stepped down from the board of the airline and ceded majority control to the SBI-led consortium.

Under the debt resolution plan, the lenders would inject up to Rs 1,500 crore working capital into the airline and convert their debt into equity, to revive the airline and then sell their stake in it.

The airline is hardpressed for funds and without further funding the airline's fleet size is expected to shrink further. It has alredy shrunk to 26.

Jet has been struggling with cash flows for the past six months because of rising fuel costs and intense competition. It has even delayed payment to lessors, airport operators and oil marketing companies besides a part of its workforce to keep the company running.

Recently, the airline informed employees that salaries for March will be delayed. Salaries are pending since January. On Monday, the company's scrip gained 3.14 per cent or Rs 8.05 to Rs 264.1 0.