Jet Airways (India) Ltd will go through a fresh round of bidding as its lenders have decided to make another attempt to find a buyer for the bankrupt carrier.
The airline’s Committee of Creditors have decided to seek fresh expressions of interest, Jet informed the stock exchanges on Monday.
The decision came after the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) last week approved extending the period for Jet’s insolvency resolution period by 90 days.
The NCLT also directed the creditors to expedite their decision on seeking fresh bids after two new undisclosed investors evinced an interest in the grounded airline. So far, South America-based Synergy Group is the sole known potential bidder to buy Jet Airways.
The creditors, led by State Bank of India, had sought an extension as Synergy Group wanted more time for due diligence and to accommodate the two new interested investors.
In August, Jet’s insolvency resolution professional Ashish Chhawchharia had received three expressions of interest — from Volcan Investment, which is billionaire Anil Agarwal’s family trust; Panama-based investor Avantulo Group and Russian fund Treasury RA Creator.
However, Volcan withdrew a day later and Avantulo wasn’t shortlisted for the next round of bidding, leaving Treasury RA Creator as the only selected entity.
After the initial August 10 deadline, Synergy Group, which owns a majority stake in Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings, showed interest in investing in Jet.
This prompted Chhawchharia to seek the approval of Jet’s creditors to include Synergy in the race, thereby extending the deadline for bidders to submit bankruptcy resolution plans to October 14.
Last week, the Mint newspaper reported that Hinduja Group was also in the race to buy Jet Airways but wanted that the family-owned conglomerate be indemnified from the airline’s legal liabilities.
Jet was founded by Naresh Goyal, who is being investigated by government authorities for alleged diversion of funds. It has accumulated losses of more than Rs 13,000 crore. It owes Rs 8,230 crore to its financial creditors and another Rs 6,400 crore to operational creditors, staff and others.
Once India’s biggest private airline, Jet Airways grounded all its flights in April after running out of money and failing to secure fresh capital from lenders or investors. Ever since, Jet Airways and its lenders have been searching for new investors.
The defunct airline was admitted to the bankruptcy court in June after its 26-lender consortium led by SBI failed to agree on a revival plan.