Jet Airways buyout: Russian state-owned fund expresses interest in bankrupt airliner

February 19, 2020 5:45 AM

Meanwhile, the resolution professional of the airline is working on a deal with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to sell Jet Airways' Amsterdam business.

Besides Enso Group and Far East Development Fund, at least two other entities were understood to be interested in Jet Airways. Besides Enso Group and Far East Development Fund, at least two other entities were understood to be interested in Jet Airways.

By Anwesha Ganguly

Russian government-owned Far East Development Fund in consortium with Indian Enso Group on Tuesday expressed interest in the bankrupt Jet Airways. The government-owned fund met lenders over a video-conference and proposed synergizing Jet’s operations with Russia’s flagship carrier, Aeroflot, sources said.

The Mumbai-headquartered Enso Group made a presentation to the committee of creditors (CoC) of the grounded airline. Lenders have in-principle agreed to give time till March 9 for interested parties to present a resolution plan for Jet. “Representatives from the Far East Development Fund met lenders. They have proposed to synergize Jet Airways with Aeroflot. Lenders have in-principle agreed to give some more time. The e-voting process will be completed sometime next week,” one person aware of the developments said.

The earlier deadline for presenting a resolution plan for Jet Airways expired on February 17. Till then, the CoC had received no resolution plans. Besides Enso Group and Far East Development Fund, at least two other entities were understood to be interested in Jet Airways. One of the parties, the Colombian Synergy Group had engaged with the lenders of the airline for over four months but will not take things forward. Another party, Prudent ARC, a Delhi-based asset reconstruction firm, sought more time to submit a plan.

The 270-day deadline for the resolution of Jet Airways expires on March 15. The beleaguered airline was admitted for insolvency last June. “March 9 may not be enough time for the group to present a resolution plan. The consortium will then have to ask the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for more time. Then it’s up to the court’s discretion,” another person said. While admitting Jet for insolvency the Mumbai bench of the NCLT had directed that the resolution should be done expeditiously as it was a matter of “national importance”.

Meanwhile, the resolution professional of the airline is working on a deal with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to sell Jet Airways’ Amsterdam business. FE had first reported on January 17 that a deal worth around $23 million was in the works for one aircraft and Schiphol airport slots earlier belonging to Jet Airways. “The process is ongoing. KLM is currently doing aircraft inspections and talks are on with the relevant regulatory authority to sign off on the sale of slots,” the person said.

According to the airlines’ website, creditors have filed claims worth Rs 35,221 crore against Jet Airways, of which the resolution professional has so far admitted claims worth Rs 14,017 crore. Domestic banks and financial institutions alone have filed claims worth Rs 6,400 crore.

The Far East Development Fund is a 100% subsidiary of Russian government-owned Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank) which primarily provides long-term priority funding to Russian projects. Internationally, it has partnered with South Korean and Japanese government entities to attract foreign investment into Russia.

The Enso Group, according to its website, is a Mumbai-based entity headed by Vaibhav Maloo, engaged in multiple business segments including infrastructure and renewable energy.

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