Etihad Airways puts in 'conditional' bid for the grounded Jet Airways

Etihad Airways puts in 'conditional' bid for the grounded Jet Airways

Lenders led by State Bank of India had put together a resolution process according to which the majority equity stake picked up by the banks would be sold to a strategic player.

State Bank of India (SBI) said on Friday it had received two unsolicited, non-binding bids for debt-laden Jet Airways Ltd, but none of the parties it short-listed last month as qualified bidders had so far entered the fray. The lenders are offering 31.2-75 pc stake in the company on a fully diluted basis.

Etihad Airways is interested in re-investing in embattled Indian carrier Jet Airways for a minority stake, subject to certain conditions, a spokesman for the Middle Eastern carrier said on Friday.

The airline in an attempt to provide respite to passengers reeling under sky-rocketing prices of air tickets slashed the prices to attract more fliers particularly after the shutting down of operations by Jet Airways.

After the government made a decision to re-allocate Jet Airways' slots and traffic rights to local carriers, state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) ordered to stop billing the carrier and directed concerned officials to take over the space rented out to the grounded airline.

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Other shortlisted bidders, including TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Infrastructure Investment Fund, did not submit binding bids on Friday.

While some of the aviation experts have raised concerns on the government's decision to allot Jet's domestic slots and global traffic rights to rival airlines, suggesting it will impact investor sentiment, a few industry insiders do expect surprise bidding in the final few hours.

It has also received a few unsolicited offers, which the lenders may deliberate on subsequently, the statement said, adding the banks are likely to evaluate the bids next week. But several potential investors had at least one condition - Jet's founder and former chairman Naresh Goyal must cede control.

"The process of bidding and winning isn't so easy", said HDFC Securities analyst Deepak Jasani. The airline owes more than Rs 8,000 crore to the consortium of lenders.

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