Bankrupt carrier Jet Airways (India) Ltd has failed to attract any buyer and is likely to be sent for liquidation when the airline’s lenders meet on Thursday.
The grounded carrier didn’t receive any bids from potential investors by the revised March 10 deadline and its Committee of Creditors is likely to vote for liquidation of the airline, said a banker aware of the development.
Vishesh C Chandiok, CEO of Grant Thornton India, had indicated last week that the process to find a buyer for the airline had failed. Grant Thornton is the resolution professional in charge of overseeing Jet Airways' bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
“I’m sorry to report but I fear we are very near the end of the road for #JetAirways—the proverbial ‘chicken or egg’ is what killed the airline—my apologies to all the employees in particular that we @GrantThorntonIN couldn’t do better for you,” he tweeted.
In December, the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had extended the period for Jet Airways’ insolvency resolution by 90 days and allowed its lenders to go for a fresh round of bidding after failing to find any buyers earlier.
In the previous rounds of bidding, the financially troubled airline had received interest from the UK-based Hinduja Group and South America-based Synergy Group, which owns a majority stake in Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings.
The airline had also received initial expressions of interest from billionaire Anil Agarwal’s family trust Volcan Investment, which pulled out subsequently, as well as Panama-based investor Avantulo Group and Russian fund Treasury RA Creator, both of which did not submit any bids.
In the initial rounds, Jet’s former Abu Dhabi-based joint venture partner Etihad Airways, which owned a 24% stake in the Indian airline, did not show any interest.
Once India’s largest airline, Jet Airways was grounded on April 18, 2019 after running out of cash and failing to secure funds from investors and lenders. The carrier was admitted for bankruptcy proceedings on June 20. The airline and its lenders have been searching for new investors ever since.
Jet Airways owes more than Rs 8,000 crore ($1.08 billion) to banks and is facing claims of Rs 24,887 crore ($3.37 billion) from various creditors including banks, suppliers and employees. The NCLT has admitted claims worth Rs 14,000 crore ($1.90 billion).