Etihad eyes minority stake in troubled Jet Airways


Etihad, which acquired 24 percent stake in Jet in 2013, is interested in re-investing in the airline, subject to certain conditions, a spokesman for the Middle Eastern carrier said earlier on Friday.

Moments before the window for submitting binding bids closed, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways gave its "conditional" bid for the grounded Jet Airways emphasising that it can not be the sole investor.

"Etihad re-emphasises that it can not be expected to be the sole investor, and that, amongst other requirements, additional suitable investors would need to provide the majority of Jet Airways' required recapitalisation", it said. It added that the banks are likely to evaluate the bids next week.

This is expected to bring some relief for fliers as after the shutting down of operations by Jet Airways, the capacity intake of the Indian aviation sector went down, leading to an increase in demand and as such, a hike of 20 to 40 per cent in ticket prices.

Jet, once India's largest private airline, stopped all flights on 17 April after its lenders, led by SBI, declined to extend more funds to keep the carrier going.

The lenders also received three unsolicited bids including one from its employees, banking sources said.

The lenders are offering over 31 per cent stake in the company on a fully diluted basis with management control.

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In March, according to DGCA data, Air India was able to sell only 80.8% seats across its flights, while SpiceJet was able to sell 93% seats, Go Air 91.4%, Air Asia 87.5%, Vistara 86.8%, Jet Airways 86.7% and IndiGo 86%.

London-based AdiGro Aviation has emerged as a strong contender for Jet Airways, with bids for the ailing carrier set to close on Friday.

The SBI-led consortium of 26 lenders had invited expressions of interest between April 8 and April 12 and had received four preliminary bids.

Unsworth tweeted that he had submitted the bid on Thursday night, and claimed that Atmosphere Airlines could invest $200 million.

The distressed airline, which had more than 120 planes in its fleet, has been grappling with financial woes.

In a letter to the Jet Airways Managing Director, the EPFO regional office in Mumbai said it would initiate an enquiry to assess the total dues and also file a case with the police for non-payment of the employees' share of provident fund.