New Delhi: Unless Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal is able to arrange for funds over the next 24-48 hours, lenders led by State Bank of India could take over the cashstrapped Jet Airways by Monday and simultaneously seek the exit of Goyal and his nominees from the airline’s board.
Bankers are then expected to rope in professionals to run the airline for a few months before finding a suitor for what was once India’s largest airline, sources told TOI.
As things stand, Etihad (which has 24% stake in Jet) seems reluctant to pump in more funds and may also sell its stake to the consortium of bankers, which will then have a stake of 60-65% in the airline, sources added. It is not just the loan of over Rs 8,200 crore that stares at the prospective new owners.
“Jet’s total debt is in the range of Rs 8,000-9,000 crore. Plus, there are payables of Rs 15,000 crore and estimated advance ticket sales of Rs 3,500 crore. Banks should be ready to pump in much more than the emergency funding of Rs 1,000-2,000 crore,” said an aviation industry insider.
While the future of Jet will eventually be decided by the next central government that will assume office in about two-and-a-half months, the plan as of now is that banks get together to ensure that the airline does not shut operations
“The feeling among bankers is that if Jet shuts down, they will lose all the money. On the other hand, if it somehow survives, there is a chance of some other player — preferably an Indian giant or consortium of desi players — taking over Jet in a few months. At that time, banks will offload some of their stakes to the new owner,” said sources.
23/03/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India