India Markets open in 3 hrs 33 mins

Debt-laden Jet Airways likely to approach Tata Group to resume stake sale talks after financial condition worsens

FP Staff
Shares of Jet Airways continued their upward journey on Wednesday and closed over 3 percent higher after Jet Airways set an 'ambitious' target of flying 40 additional aircraft by the end of April.

Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways is likely to approach Tata Group again for stake sale consultations as the debt-laden airline's financial condition has worsened, said media reports.

While its founder and chairman Goyal has been discussing a deal with Etihad Airways, talks with the foreign partner stalled over the latter's demand that he step aside from his management role, sources said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private, a report in The Economic Times said. However, both Jet Airways and Tata Sons did not comment

In November 2018, Tata Sons had put up a condition at its board meeting to acquire Jet Airways stakes that the deal would be possible only if Goyal relinquished his board position, said a report in Business Standard.

The diversified Tata Group owns majority stakes in two airline joint ventures €" Vistara and AirAsia India.

Tatas has 51 percent stake each in full service airline Vistara €" a joint venture with Singapore Airlines €" and budget carrier AirAsia India -- where 49 per cent is with Malaysia's AirAsia Berhad.

Media reports suggest that the parent company of Vistara, Tata-Singapore Airlines, was looking at all-stock merger with Jet Airways as part of the Tata group's plans to board Goyal's full service carrier.

In an exchange filing, Jet Airways described the media reports as speculative.

In October 2018, reports appeared that Tata Sons was mulling to purchase stake in Jet Airways and that the plans were at a very early stage.

When asked about reports that Tata Sons is in discussions with Jet Airways for purchasing stake, an airline spokesperson said the information is "totally speculative".

On 2 January, crisis-hit Jet Airways had defaulted on loan repayments to banks, according to a filing. The full service carrier has been grappling with financial woes for quite some time now and has been making delayed salary payments to staff.

"Payment of interest and principal installment due to the consortium of Indian Banks (led by State Bank of India) on 31 December, 2018 has been delayed due to temporary cashflow mismatch," the company said in a regulatory filing.

Jet Airways had to cancel over a dozen flights in December 2018 after some pilots reported "sick" over their unpaid salaries.

The loss-making airline has been defaulting on the payment of salaries to its senior management, pilots and engineers since August due to a severe cash crunch.

€" With PTI inputs



To keep watching India's No. 1 English Business News Channel €" CNBC-TV18, call your Cable or DTH Operator and ask for the Colors Family Pack (inclusive of 24 channels), available for Rs. 35/- per month, or subscribe to the channel for Rs. 4/- per day.

To keep watching the Leader in Global Market & Business News €" CNBC-TV18 Prime HD, call your Cable or DTH Operator and ask for the Colors Family HD Pack (inclusive of 25 channels), available for Rs. 50/- per month, or subscribe to the channel for Rs. 1/- per day.

Also See: Jet Airways in talks with SBI for Rs 1,500-cr short-term loan; Etihad likely to provide guarantee

Cash-strapped Jet Airways defaults on debt payment to banks due to 'temporary cash flow mismatch'

Jet Airways defaults on loan repayments: Continuing with existing management may not help; new team is needed in cockpit

Read more on Business by Firstpost.