Jet Airways gets a lifeline; banks step in to revive troubled airline

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New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2019 7:25:18 AM

Approval needed from all parties; once through banks will be the largest stakeholder in the airline.

jet airways, aviation sector, aviation industryThe fuel costs went up by 30% y-o-y to Rs 2,388 crore while other income fell to Rs 504 crore from Rs 1,216 crore, down 59% y-o-y.

Cash-strapped and troubled airline Jet Airways, which was on the verge of collapse, has finally got a bailout package from its lenders which paves the way for its revival. The company said its board on Thursday approved a bank-led resolution plan (BLPRP) received from the State Bank of India, which was appointed lead lender by a consortium of domestic lenders under the RBI circular of February 12, 2018.

Once approved by all the required sections, lenders led by SBI would become the largest stakeholder in the airline.

The resolution plan includes infusion of funds, restructuring of debt and monetisation of assets. The BLPRP, which has currently estimated a funding gap of around Rs 8,500 crore (including proposed repayment of aircraft debt of around `1,700 crore), will be met by appropriate mix of equity infusion, debt restructuring, sale and leaseback/refinancing of aircraft, among other things.

In the next stage, the BLPRP will be presented for consideration and approval to the consortium of lenders, the overseeing committee of the Indian Banks Association, the board of directors of Etihad Airways, and the promoter of Jet Airways. It would also require the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the ministry of civil aviation, and the Competition Commission of India.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways holds 24% equity in Jet Airways. Jet did not state that post-restructuring what stake would be held by Etihad and promoter-chairman Naresh Goyal, who currently holds 51% stake.

“Conversion of lenders’ debt into 11.4 crore shares of rs 10 each by allotment of such number of equity shares to the lenders that would result in the lenders becoming the largest shareholder in the company. Such allotment of 11.4 crore shares will be made at an aggregate consideration of `1 since under the RBI circular, lenders can convert debt into equity at `1 when the book value per share of a company is negative,” Jet Airways said in a statement.

As is known, Jet defaulted on a loan repayment to the consortium of lenders on December 31, 2018.

It also owes a substantial payment to its vendors. As per the RBI’s February 12, 2018 circular, the company needs to come out with a resolution plan within 180 days to avoid going into insolvency.
The airline has called an extraordinary general meeting on February 21 to seek shareholders’ nod for the deal and to name lenders’ nominees on the board.

Recently, Etihad had infused Rs 252 crore by a pre-purchase of Jet’s tickets through its loyalty programme Jet Privilege.

Meanwhile, on Thursday Jet Airways reported its fourth consecutive quarterly loss at Rs 588 crore during the October-December quarter due to higher fuel costs and fall in other income. It had posted a profit of Rs 165 crore in the same period last year. The loss numbers were lesser than Bloomberg consensus estimate of Rs 643 crore.

Revenues during the period remained flat at Rs 6,148 crore as its domestic passenger count dipped 6% year-on-year. The revenues were behind Bloomberg estimates of Rs 6,450 crore.

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The fuel costs went up by 30% y-o-y to Rs 2,388 crore while other income fell to Rs 504 crore from Rs 1,216 crore, down 59% y-o-y. The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and rentals (Ebitdar) slipped 55% to Rs 510 crore. The operating margins also plummeted to 8.2% from 17.7% during the same period last year.

Jet’s domestic market share fell to lowest in at least five years to 12.7% in the quarter. While the industry’s domestic capacity grew at 18% y-o-y during the quarter, Jet reported flattish growth at 1.5% growth due to ongoing financial crisis.
Due to non-payment to its vendors and lessors, four of its aircraft had recently been grounded by the lessors.

The Jet stock has lost 28% since August 1, 2018 since reports of the management asking employees to take 25% pay cut as part of cost-cutting measures, first appeared.

The airline’s shares closed up 1% at Rs 225.8 on Thursday on the BSE. The result and the revival package were announced after trading hours.

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