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Thursday, 11 April, 2019, 12 : 15 PM [IST]
Jet Airways receives EoIs from 5 companies

As many as five companies are said to have submitted expressions of interest (EoIs) in picking up stakes in Jet Airways that have been put on sale by lenders as part of a rescue plan, said two people aware of the matter. However, the lenders have extended the Wednesday deadline by two days, in the hope that Etihad Airways, which hasn’t submitted an EoI, will show interest. 

ET could not ascertain the names of the investors but both people cited above said the Eo-Is were either “non-serious” or lacked critical details on how the bidders will recapitalise Jet. This is the first stage of the bidding process and the EoIs are non-binding. “As part of the (bidding) process, we are in receipt of some EoIs and some more persons have expressed desire to participate if additional time is provided,” said a spokesperson of SBI Capital Markets, which is overseeing the process. “Accordingly, in order to allow better participation in the process the domestic lenders have agreed to extend the timeline for submission of EoIs which have been updated and made available on the websites.”

Lenders led by State Bank of India have been trying to persuade Etihad, which owns 24% of Jet, to increase its investment to help revive the carrier. Etihad though has been insisting on an exemption from the takeover norm that requires investors to make an open offer for a further 20% stake if they exceed a 25% threshold. TATA Group not to keen Etihad’s board is supposed to take a decision on whether to invest further in Jet.

Meanwhile, Jet continued to grapple with financial woes. Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) stopped supplies to it between 3 pm and 8:30 pm, forcing it to delay all flights till after 9 pm, according to two people aware of the matter. Moreover, a cargo agent in Jet’s main global hub Amsterdam stopped a Boeing 777 plane’s bellyhold cargo in the afternoon, grounding the aircraft, sources said.

“Flight 9W 231from Amsterdam to Mumbai of April 10 was cancelled due to operational reasons,” Jet said, without elaborating.“Guests are being re-accommodated.” Since Tuesday, Jet has been flying 22 planes, down from 124 in December. Jet disputed this, saying it still has 26 planes flying. On Wednesday evening, the airline’s founder Naresh Goyal signed an agreement to pledge more shares. The stake he’s pledged is now up to 41.1% out of his total 51% holding. The lenders have however approved Goyal retaining a 9.9% shareholding in the airline that will be unencumbered, which means that it will not have to be pledged. In effect, this means he will continue to have a presence in the airline.

(Source: ET)