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Jet Airways stake sale: Lenders get ‘some’ bids, extend deadline to April 12 to get more parties

Jet Airways aircrafts are seen parked at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. (Reuters/File)

Even as Jet Airways continues to struggle - with oil companies cutting fuel supplies and lessors seeking aircraft repossession due to liquidity issues - the airline's lenders have received "some" expressions of interest from potential buyers of stake in the carrier.

In an official statement, SBI Capital Markets (SBICAPs) - which is overseeing the stake sale process on behalf of the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) - said: "As part of the process, we are in receipt of some EoIs and some more persons have expressed desire to participate if additional time is provided. Accordingly, in order to allow better participation in the process the domestic lenders have agreed for extension of time for submission of EoI ..."

SBICAPs extended the deadline for interested parties to bid till April 12, 6 pm. The previous deadline was Wednesday, 6pm.

However, banking sources indicated that no bids were received and potential bidders had raised concerns with the proposal, including the banks not infusing the promised Rs 1,500 crore into the airline for immediate support; the airline's founder Naresh Goyal's shareholding; and grounding of aircraft and mounting losses.

Sources also said that expressions of interest (EoIs) received thus far were from financial bidders such as private equity firms and strategic bidders including some foreign airlines. SBICAPs did not disclose the exact number of bids received.

Meanwhile, state-owned oil marketing firm Indian Oil Corp (IOC) halted aviation turbine fuel supply to Jet Airways from 3pm onwards on Wednesday across the country. This is the third day this week when fuel supply to Jet Airways was halted by IOC.

On April 8, SBICAPs invited bids on behalf of the lenders led by SBI, which has put between 31 per cent and up to 75 per cent in Jet for investors. It added qualified bidder/s will be expected to submit their respective binding bids by April 30.

Earlier, the lenders had also tweaked terms for share sale in the airline, which is now under the management control of the SBI-led consortium.

As part of the debt resolution plan for the carrier, the lenders are now looking at restructuring the "existing facilities and infusion of fresh funds by way of loans or acquisition/subscription of up to 75 per cent of equity share capital of the company".

Under the new terms and conditions, bidders in a consortium that bids for acquiring stake in the airline will now have to furnish inpidual solvency certificates, which is a proof of an entity's financial stability, it said.

On March 25, Jet Airways' board had approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders, under which the lenders decided to take control of the debt-ridden carrier and make a fund infusion of Rs 1,500 crore but the amount is yet to be released to the airline.

Additionally, in the original EoI, SBICAPs also noted that government promoted funds, quasi sovereign wealth funds shall not be required to meet the qualification criteria, as stated above.

Further, it said, such funds shall not be required to respond to EoI and would be eligible to directly procure bid document free of cost and submit their bids till the last day announced for submission of bids.

On Wednesday, shares of Jet Airways ended trading at Rs 263.40, 1.59 per cent lower than Tuesday's close on the Sensex at the BSE.