Grounded Jet Airways’ lenders plan to get all bids legally verified before beginning negotiations with interested parties…writes ROHIT VAID
According to informed sources, lenders have a limited number of options to recover their outstanding dues worth Rs 8,400 crore. They might also try to stitch a deal involving two bidding parties.
“We will first get all (solicited and unsolicited) bids legally verified and after that we will invite the selected parties on to the negotiating table,” a senior banker told IANS in Mumbai.
“We can also explore a way to bring two bidding parties together, whereby both will work with lenders.”
Another source involved in the matter said: “If the process to find a suitable bidder fails, then the other options will be DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) and NCLT.”
When asked about the sudden exodus of the company’s top management and lenders view on the same, the senior banker said: “It is for the owners of the airline to decide about appointments. We are not the part of any controlling entity.”
On Tuesday, an exodus of senior management personnel took place, as the airline’s CEO, CFO and Company Secretary resigned.
The resignations came after the airline’s top executive Gaurang Shetty, considered close to founder Naresh Goyal, resigned from the board of directors.
Having run out of cash, Jet Airways suspended its operations on April 17. Besides employees exiting, its aircraft are also being gradually de-registered. These events have added to the growing uncertainty about airline’s revival.
Lenders of Jet Airways led by state-run State Bank of India (SBI) are currently in the process of selling the airline to recover their dues of over Rs 8,400 crore.
Private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad Airways had been shortlisted to place their bids after they submitted Expressions of Interest (EoIs).
On May 10 — the last date for submitting the binding bids — only Etihad gave its offer. The other three bids for the airline were unsolicited.
Faced with salary delays and uncertainty over revival of the airline, thousand of Jet Airways employees, especially pilots and engineers, have left the company to join rival carriers.