SBI Capital Markets, a subsidiary of State Bank of India, has received a solicited bid from Etihad Airways and three unsolicited bids for the now-grounded Jet Airways in an ongoing stake sale. The development comes as the deadline for submitting bids under the stake sale ended today at 6:00 pm. Jet Airways’ lenders have taken a controlling stake in the airline, and are currently in the process of selling a stake to recover their dues. Struggling with a debt of more than $1.2 billion, the cash-strapped airline owes money to lessors, suppliers, pilots and oil companies.
- “(We have) made disproportionate efforts to keep Jet flying,” said SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar. “This world lives on hope so there is hope till 6pm.”
- The SBI announcement comes even as Jet’s offices are being vacated at many airports across the country and employee access is being revoked.
- He declined to give any detail on the bidders, how serious the parties were and what terms were being offered by the interested parties.
- Aviation industry sources reportedly said earlier on Friday that the stake sale process is unlikely to get any “serious bid” from investors. Public sector banks may be looking at massive write-off of the loans, they added.
- The lenders had said earlier this week that four expressions of interest – from Etihad Airways, TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) – were received.
- If a deal fails to materialise, the airline could be dragged into bankruptcy by creditors, putting at stake the livelihoods of its 22,000 employees.
- Struggling with a debt of more than $1.2 billion, the cash-strapped airline owes money to lessors, suppliers, pilots and oil companies.
- Once the country’s largest private sector airline, Jet Airways stopped all flights on April 17 after its group of lenders – led by SBI – declined to extend more funds to keep the carrier going.
- Jet Airways shares ended 2.85 per cent higher on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), outperforming the benchmark Sensex index which finished 0.26 per cent lower extending recent losses an eighth straight session.
- The Jet Airways stock has lost 39.29 per cent of value since the grounding of the airline.