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Jet Airways lenders make fourth attempt to sell grounded carrier
Photo Credit: Reuters

Lenders to Jet Airways (India) Ltd have decided to invite fresh bids from potential investors in their fourth attempt to sell the bankrupt airline that was grounded more than a year ago.

The last date to submit the bids is May 28, according to the revised schedule approved in a meeting of the committee of creditors led by State Bank of India.

Jet, once India’s second-largest airline, stopped operating in April 2019 after failing to raise emergency funding from lenders. The airline was dragged to bankruptcy court in June 2019.

Since then, the lenders have invited expressions of interest from potential buyers three times—in June and December last year and again in February this year.

On February 18, the lenders set a new deadline of March 10 for submission of bids after South American conglomerate Synergy Group and New Delhi-based Prudent ARC Ltd failed to meet the previous deadline.

Synergy Group also owns a majority stake in Latin America’s second-largest air carrier Avianca Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

On March 12, Jet’s lenders sought two more months for insolvency resolution. Subsequently, the National Company Tribunal extended the time to find a buyer for Jet by 90 days until June.

While Synergy has now backed out of the bidding process for Jet, Russia’s government-backed Far East Asia Development Fund has evinced interest in Jet Airways, according to bankers.

Meanwhile, Jet’s plan to sell its assets in the Netherlands to Dutch airline KLM hasn’t received clearance from the Airport Coordination Netherlands, the Indian carrier informed stock exchanges on Wednesday.

Jet’s revival prospects have worsened after the coronavirus pandemic grounded the airline industry worldwide and after Prudent ARC said last month it was reconsidering its plan to bid for the carrier.

The company owed Rs 8,232 crore to its financial creditors and an additional Rs 7,742 crore to its operational creditors such as employees and vendors as on March 13, according to regulatory filings.

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