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Jet gets another EoI; deadline for resolution plan extended

By Aneesh Phadnis & Subrata Panda
February 19, 2020 22:51 IST
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A Russian fund submitted its interest to the resolution professional on February 14 and also hired a consultancy firm to help them with the bidding process.

Russia-based Far East Development Fund has  submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the beleaguered Jet Airways, sources close to the development said.

This is the third EoI that the airline has received in the second round of bidding.

 

Following the development, the committee of creditors on Tuesday decided to extend the date for submitting a resolution plan to March 9.

The Russian fund submitted their interest to the resolution professional on February 14 and also hired a consultancy firm to help them with the bidding process.

The idea behind the bid is to explore developing Moscow and St. Petersburg as hubs for India-Europe and India-US traffic.

The fund is also keen to introduce Russian civil aircraft like Sukhoi SuperJet 100 in the Indian market, said a source.

The Russian fund proposes to set up a consortium of Russian financial and aviation companies for revival of the airline.

The other two entities which have expressed interest in reviving Jet are New Delhi-based Prudent ARC and South America’s Synergy Group.

However, Synergy has turned cold as it has issues related airport slots in India and abroad.

“The Russian fund’s interest is a promising development. There are challenges in resolution but we are hopeful that those can be addressed,” said Rajesh Prasad, chief strategy officer, Jet Airways.

Enso Group of India is helping the Russian fund in the bid process and is expected to tying up with it.

The group is headed by Vinay Maloo, who is the group chairman and chief executive officer.

Vaibhav Maloo is the managing director of the group and is on the board of most of Enso group companies.

Enso Group is involved in various business segments, including advising and consulting, capital and finance, energy, infrastructure, natural resources, renewable energy, technology and health care.

The fund was set up by the supervisory board of the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs and is chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It facilitates the inflow of investments to the Far East and Baikal region by providing preferential financing and long-term financing of prioritized investment projects in various industries.

Far East Development Fund refused to comment when contacted by Business Standard.

“We do not comment on this topic at this stage”, said a spokesperson of Far East Development Fund.

The corporate insolvency resolution process of Jet Airways is supposed to end in the second week of March as the 270 day period for revival of the company comes to an end.

Prudent ARC, which earlier signed a non-disclosure agreement with resolution professional, had sought four more weeks to submit a plan.

Earlier, the deadline for submitting a resolution plan for Jet Airways was February 17.

This is the second time that lenders called for a fresh resolution as the first round of bidding did not result in any resolution plan.

The lenders gave ample time to prospective suitors by extending the deadline repeatedly.

Earlier, Synergy Group had said slots at Heathrow airport are critical to the airline’s operations and they would decide on participating in the resolution only if they get clarity on slots.

This time, it seems, Synergy Group has same the demands.

Besides slots, Synergy has also made some reservations about the past liabilities of Jet.

On its part, the civil aviation ministry had clarified that it would decide on returning domestic slots to Jet on submission of a concrete business plan.

Currently, the airline has 12 aircraft, including three Boeing 737s, six Boeing 777s, and three Airbus A330s (including one leased to Air Serbia).

Of them, the three Boeing 737s are fully-owned by the airline.

There is a pending loan of around Rs 250 crore on the remaining planes.

Banks have security interest over nine planes, which give them the right to acquire them in the event of a default.

The remaining debt would have to be cleared before the airline gets full ownership.

Creditors' claims for the airline are of Rs 36,090 crore, of which Rs 14,640 crore was admitted as on October 20.

Jet had 20-30 per cent of available slots at Delhi and Mumbai airports and overseas traffic rights, but these have been allocated temporarily to other carriers.

In December 2018, the airline had 115 planes, but most of them have been repossessed by lessors.

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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Aneesh Phadnis & Subrata Panda in Mumbai
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