Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Etihad Seeks To Acquire Additional Stakes In Jet Airways

Etihad Seeks To Acquire Additional Stakes In Jet Airways

"Etihad Airways today confirmed its interest to re-invest in a minority stake in India's Jet Airways, subject to conditions". It added that the banks are likely to evaluate the bids next week.

"This world lives on hope so there is hope till 6pm", SBI's Chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters, after a news conference about the bank's results on Friday.

On April 17, Jet Airways, India's largest private airline at one point of time, made a decision to shut down its operations as the consortium of lenders, led by SBI, refused to consider extending Rs 400 crore emergency funding to keep the airline flying.

Lenders of Jet Airways led by the state-run State Bank of India (SBI) had mandated SBICaps to initiate the process of selling the airline to recover their dues of over Rs 8,400 crore.

The lenders are offering up to 75 per cent stake in the company on a fully diluted basis, the Press Trust of India reported. Friday was the last day to submit the financial bids.

Etihad was among four investors that submitted initial bids for the airline last month.

It further said a few unsolicited offers have also been received which the lenders may deliberate on subsequently. 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.

"The process of bidding and winning isn't so easy", said HDFC Securities analyst Deepak Jasani. "Day by day, losses and loans are rising at Jet, the more the process is delayed the more the situation becomes irreparable".

In a letter to the Jet Airways Managing Director, the EPFO regional office in Mumbai said it would initiate an enquiry to assess the total dues and also file a case with the police for non-payment of the employees' share of provident fund. According to sources, the unsolicited bids were received from Adi Partners, and a consortium led by British entrepreneur Jason Unsworth, founder and CEO of Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines.

If a deal fails to materialise, the airline is likely to be dragged into the bankruptcy court by creditors, putting at stake the jobs of almost 20,000 employees.

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