Jet Airways: Synergy Group emerges lone suitor for grounded airline

Updated: September 13, 2019 7:07:03 AM

The resolution professional (RP) for the grounded airline has set up meetings between the Synergy Group, Jet’s lenders and the ministry of civil aviation over the next week.

Aviation tales, Synergy Group, Jet Airways, South American Avianca Airlines, German Efromovich, companiesJet Airways has been grounded since April 17 after lenders refused to extend emergency funding to the airline to continue with its operations.

By Anwesha Ganguly

The Synergy Group, a majority stakeholder in South American Avianca Airlines, has emerged as the sole contender for the beleaguered Jet Airways. The group was the only party to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to get access to Jet’s financials for conducting due diligence. The resolution professional (RP) for the grounded airline has set up meetings between the Synergy Group, Jet’s lenders and the ministry of civil aviation over the next week. The group, led by Bolivian-born entrepreneur German Efromovich, is searching for an Indian partner. The RP has identified at least two Indian firms which can partner with Synergy Group, one person involved in the process said.

Earlier this month, the RP shortlisted the Synergy Group and a Russian fund as eligible resolution applicants. The Russian fund did not provide adequate information to get vetted for the next step of the process, the source said.

There is a long way to go before all stakeholders can decide on a resolution plan, another person involved in the process said. “This is only the beginning of the process and the discussions are still premature. The lenders and Synergy Group have to meet and see if all sides can come to an agreement. A deal won’t happen overnight,” the source said.

Insolvency proceedings for the airline, which has been grounded for nearly five months, was initiated on June 20. According to the current timeline set out by the RP, the resolution plan for the airline is expected to be finalised and presented for approval before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by October 27.

FE had earlier reported that the Synergy Group will present a business plan to lenders but expects banks to take a significant haircut on the existing debt of Jet.According to the Jet’s website, creditors have filed claims worth over Rs 30,000 crore, of which claims of over Rs 12,000 crore have been admitted so far. Of the admitted claims, dues of financial creditors alone amount to over Rs 8,200 crore.

Efromovich had in 2004 bought a bankrupt Avianca Airlines. The company has since grown to become Latin America’s second-largest. Earlier this year, Efromovich was reportedly removed from the board of Avianca Holdings for a loan breach. Efromovich has since put in an offer for Italian carrier Alitalia, which was rejected.

Jet Airways has been grounded since April 17 after lenders refused to extend emergency funding to the airline to continue with its operations.

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