The lenders to the bankrupt Jet Airways, who met here Tuesday for the first time since the carrier was sent to the NCLT, are understood to have decided to call for expressions of interest to sell the meager assets of the airline by Saturday. The airline’s meager assets include 14 aircraft including 10 Boeing planes–down from 124 before the grounding–and 49 percent stake in Jet Privilege and a few buildings, while its liabilities are over Rs 36,000 crore, including more than Rs 10,000 crore of vendor dues, Rs 8,500 crore along with interest to the lenders, over Rs 3,000 crore in salary dues and more than Rs 13,500 crore in accumulated losses of the past three years.
The company is no more a going concern and had for many years run into negative networth. The lenders also list spares, slots and routes as the “assets” of the airliner that was promoted by Naresh Goyal and operated its last flight on April 17. The airline was sent to the NCLT on June 17. But it can be noted that government had temporarily given away all its domestic slots in April itself and its international routes in June. The insolvency resolution professional for the airline Ashish Chhawchharia and the lenders led by State Bank will be laying down the bidding criteria, a source told PTI.
Voting on the timeline for issuing the expressions of interest and the eligibility criteria will be completed by the targeted date of July 19 and the EoIs are likely to be issued the next day on July 20, the source added. Financial creditors have made a claim of Rs 8,500 crore, while the claims from operational creditors and employees–which are much higher than the former–are yet to be verified, the source said.
The National Company Law Tribunal had on June 20 admitted the insolvency petition filed by the lenders against Jet Airways, and directed resolution professional to try to finish the process within three months.
The tribunal had cited “national importance” of the airline while directing a faster resolution process, than 180 days allowed under the bankruptcy code. Before it was sent to the NCLT, the banks, which own half of the shares in the airline had sought expressions of interest from both strategic and financial investors to sell between 31.2 and 75 percent stake.
The bankers had received four non-binding EoIs in April, while Etihad Airways, which owns 24 percent in the carrier, had submitted a conditional bid. But none of the bidders moved forward. Later late last month, the employees had moved the NCLT seeking to take over the airline with an unknown entity.
Source: Financial Express, July 17, 2019