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Jet Airways crisis: Synergy gets time till Dec 16 to bid for beleaguered airline

FE Bureau
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By Anwesha Ganguly

The Committee of creditors (CoC) to Jet Airways on Tuesday broadly agreed to give the Synergy Group, the only entity that evinced an interest in the beleaguered airline, time till December 16 to submit its bid. The proposal was discussed at a CoC meeting on Tuesday, and will be put to vote during the week.

The proposal comes a day after the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) asked the Colombia-based group to appear before it and show a bona fide intent to participate in the airline's resolution by December 3.

The resolution professional (RP) for the airline, Ashish Chhawccharia, would seek additional time from the NCLT of 90 days to present a final resolution plan, sources said. The 180-day deadline for corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) ends on December 16. The NCLT had initiated insolvency proceedings against the cash-strapped Jet Airways on June 20, and the airline has now been grounded for over seven months.

In the order, the NCLT had said the resolution should be done expeditiously given it was a matter of "national importance". "The lenders gave an extension because few options remain otherwise. But the Synergy Group doesn't have a concrete plan in place, hence the NCLT judges want to meet their representatives," one person involved in the process said.

If the Synergy Group does not submit its bid by December 16, the process will move towards liquidation, another senior official involved in the process said. "No one wants to say the L word, but if there isn't a plan in place by December 16, we will have to move towards liquidation," the source said.

Meanwhile, the RP is also in discussions with the legal representatives of the Dutch government, which has declared Jet Airways bankrupt earlier this year. "There were discussions on the consolidation of claims and sale of assets since the Dutch bankruptcy process is different and does not have a waterfall mechanism similar to India," a person aware of the discussions said.

FE last week reported that banks have initiated a second forensic audit into Jet Airways and will likely extend the bid deadline for the Synergy Group. The group is yet to find an Indian partner, since investment into Jet as a sole entity will violate India's foreign investment norms.

The total claims against the Jet Airways stood at Rs 36,090.9 crore as on October 20. Of this, the resolution professional for Jet has admitted claims worth Rs 14,640.32 crore so far, according to the latest data available on the airline's website.