Wednesday, June 16

SBI Caps to hunt for new investors for Jet Airways

KOLKATA: Lenders to Jet Airways is all set to hire SBI Capital Markets to advise them in the process of finding new investors for the troubled airlines. They are also going to appoint consultancy firm Mckinsey to guide the interim board and management in running the show till new investors come in.

The interim board and management committee for Jet is being finalised while Jet’s existing chief executive officer Vinay Dube and chief financial officer Amit Agarwal will continue to be part of it, State Bank of India Managing Director Arijit Basu said Friday.

Basu said that former SBI chairman AK Purwar would take charge as chairman of the interim board as promoter Naresh Goyal has relinquished his position following lenders’ demand.

“This (Purwar’s appointment) is being done as a corporate governance practice. But I would like to clarify that banks are in no way going to run the airlines as it has been speculated,” he said.

Once the interim board takes shape in a week or so, the process of hiring SBI Caps will begin.

Lenders led by SBI will have 50.1% holding in the airlines following the debt-equity conversion as per Reserve Bank of India norms for stressed loans. The stake issued to the banks will be valued at Re 1 on their books. Jet has about 11.4 crore equity shares while a similar number of shares will be floated in favour of the lenders, Basu told ET.

Accordingly, promoter Goyal’s 51% holding will come down to half while Etihad’s 24% will become 12%.

Lenders to Jet Airways and the existing promoters will offload their shares as part of the restructuring exercise. Meanwhile, they will infuse fresh debt to avoid the airlines from being grounded.

“It is difficult for any airlines to turn around if it is grounded. We will examine what is the minimum requirement of fund-based and non-fund based loan it would require to carry out operation,” Basu said.

It was earlier reported that banks would provide Rs 1500 crore as fresh working capital loan.

It is learnt that Jet Airways is looking to increase the number of airborne aircraft to 75 by the end of April from 35 at present. It had a fleet of 119 aircraft before lessors started taking back the aircraft following the fund-crisis.

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