Jet lands in bankruptcy court
Lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday finally decided to start bankruptcy proceedings against Jet Airways as their last attempt to find a resolution for the grounded carrier, which owes more than Rs 8,000 crore to lenders.
The lenders decided to approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) as they could not agree to the terms reportedly made by Etihad and the Hinduja group.
Etihad wanted exemption from the open offer norms of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), while the Hindujas may have sought a hefty hair-cut.
However, there could be some ray of hope for the lenders as an open offer is exempted if the resolution is reached under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
A statement issued by the SBI in the evening said the IBC route was necessary as the prospective investor wanted exemption from Sebi norms, which is possible under this mechanism.
“After due deliberations, the lenders have decided to seek resolution for Jet Airways under the bankruptcy code as only a conditional bid was received and the investor’s demand for exemptions by Sebi and a resolution for all creditors is possible under IBC,” the SBI said.
Jet Airways owes more than Rs 8,000 crore to the lenders’ consortium apart from vendor dues and unpaid salaries, taking its total liabilities to over Rs 20,000 crore.
The banks, which had earlier sought bids for a controlling stake in the airline, had so far stayed out of insolvency courts.
But with their attempts making very little progress and the bidders setting terms which were unacceptable, they decided to seek a resolution within the IBC.
Already, two operational creditors — Shaman Wheels and Gaggar Enterprises — had moved the NCLT seeking bankruptcy proceedings against the airline. Subsequently, on June 13 the tribunal, which is yet to admit the petitions, put off the matter for further hearing to June 20.
The tribunal asked these parties to serve legal notices to Jet Airways. The airline owes Rs 8.74 crore to Shaman Wheels and Rs 53 lakh to Gaggar.
Reports had earlier said that the two interested bidders — Etihad and the Hinduja group — would bring in Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, as a partner.
However, it remains to be seen if the insolvency proceedings bring any good news to the lenders as Jet Airways has been left with very little assets and most of its slots in the domestic markets have been taken over by its rivals.
Meanwhile, shares of the airline continued their downtrend by plunging 17 per cent on Monday.
Last week, the bourses had decided to impose restrictions on its trading from June 28. On the BSE, the share crashed 16.76 per cent to close at Rs 68.30. During the day, it plummeted 19.56 per cent to hit a multi-year low of Rs 66.
Similarly, on the NSE, shares plunged 18 per cent to close at Rs 66.95. On the traded volume front, 26 lakh shares were traded on the BSE and over two crore shares on the NSE during the day.
In 11 trading sessions since May 30, the scrip has fallen around 55 per cent from Rs 150.85 on the BSE.