India Markets open in 1 min

Jet Airways deal: SBI may get 15% in beleaguered airline

FE Bureau

Cash-strapped carrier Jet Airways may see State Bank of India acquiring a stake of around 15% in it once it converts a part of its loan into equity as part of a restructuring package of the airline.
According to Bloomberg, other creditors of Jet also plan similar conversions of some debt into equity to help the troubled carrier survive.

Bloomberg said under a new rescue proposal for Jet,its founder-chairman Naresh Goyal s stake would fall below 20% from 51% currently.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, the foreign partner of Jet with a 24% stake, is expected to infuse additional funds to take its holding to more than 40%, Bloomberg reported quoting unnamed sources.
Such a rescue plan would safeguard about 23,000 jobs and save the government the embarrassment of a collapse of an airline months before the general elections.

The Mumbai-based carrier, which has struggled with profitability in an increasingly competitive market, has piled on $1.1 billion in debt and fallen behind on paying loans and salaries, the agency reported.
Lenders led by SBI have managed the process quickly and with a strategic intent of delivering a rescue package which works for the stakeholders, said Kapil Kaul, South Asia head of CAPA Centre for Aviation. The key will be the composition of the board and quality of the new directors and the overall governance architecture. This to me is most critical, Kaul was quoted as telling the news agency.
The Bloomberg report said that a final decision hasn t been taken as a deal is still being negotiated. Spokespersons for SBI and Jet Airways didn t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Jet Airways has called an extraordinary general meeting on February 21 in Mumbai, to seek shareholders approval to increase its authorised share capital by issuing equity and preferred shares.
The company s shares have fallen 68% in the past year making it the worst performing share in the BI Asia Pacific Airlines index. They dropped 0.7% on Tuesday.

The carrier is working on various options on the debt-equity mix, proportion of equity infusion, the airline said in a statement on January 16. adding the restructuring may lead to a change in the board of the company.