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Jet Airways resolution: Anil Agarwal gets cold feet, pulls out of bid

FE Bureau
Anil Agarwal, Jet Airways, Jet Airways bid, Vedanta, Jet Airways resolution process, Etihad airways

Vedanta Resources executive chairman Anil Agarwal has backed out of the Jet Airways resolution process. Agarwal had last week submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the beleaguered airline through his family-owned trust Volcan Investments.

"The EoI for Jet Airways by Volcan was exploratory in nature. On further evaluation and considering other priorities, we intend to not pursue this further," said Agarwal in a statement on Monday.

Apart from Volcan Investments, only two other parties have evinced interest in Jet Airways, including a Panama-based entity, Avantulo Group. The resolution professional (RP) for the airline is expected to evaluate the bids and issue a provisional list of eligible resolution applicants by August 13. Etihad Airways, Jet’s strategic partner, also shied away from submitting an EoI over "unresolved issues concerning Jet’s liabilities." In a statement issued on Monday, the airline said "it was neither feasible for, nor responsible of Etihad to reinvest in Jet at this time."

Earlier this year, Etihad had put in a conditional EoI for Jet Airways before the grounded airline had been admitted for insolvency proceedings. Etihad was understood to be in talks with the Hinduja group to participate in the resolution process as well.

On June 20, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) initiated insolvency proceedings against the airline following an application moved by State Bank of India. In its order, the NCLT sought a speedy resolution for Jet Airways as it was considered a matter of "national importance". While passing the order, Judge VP Singh urged that the resolution process should be completed within 90 days.

Eligible resolution applicants will have time till September 12 to submit their plans. The final resolution plan for Jet Airways is expected to be submitted on September 27 before the National Company Law Tribunal for its approval.

Jet Airways halted operations on April 17 after lenders refused to provide emergency funding. Since then, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has re-allocated the Jet’s slots to other airlines on a temporary basis till October.