State Bank of India receives 2 unsolicited bids for grounded Jet Airways

State Bank of India receives 2 unsolicited bids for grounded Jet Airways”

A glimmer of hope emerged for Jet Airways on Friday as Etihad placed a financial bid for acquiring a stake in the troubled airline, the only one to do so.

Many lenders, including SBI and Syndicate Bank, have categorized loans to Jet Airways, which has remained grounded for about a month, as non-performing in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2018-19 and made provisions for it.

Mumbai: A bid being stitched together by pilots of the grounded Jet Airways India Ltd. may get a hearing if no binding offers emerge from the four potential investors now in the race, people with knowledge of the matter said.

SBI Caps, in a statement said, "Sealed bid from Etihad Airways PJSC has been received and the same will be submitted to lenders for examination". Lenders had put 75% stake of Jet Airways on sale.

The consortium of 26 lenders, led by State Bank which now owns 51 percent in the airline, had invited expressions of interest (EoIs) between 8-12 April and had received four preliminary bids. Etihad Airways is interested in re-investing in embattled Indian carrier Jet Airways for a minority stake, subject to certain conditions, a spokesman for the Middle Eastern carrier said on Friday.

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While the bid process was on, Jet was forced to vacate its offices at many airports across the country and employee access was revoked.

Any bidder will have to come with considerable funding as the airline owes Rs 8,000 crore to banks and thousands of crore more to lessors, vendors and employees, who haven't been paid since March. "India is one of the fastest-growing air transport markets in the world, and a significant economic partner of the UAE", the airline said. According to a top source close to the development, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund is likely to pick up some part of the equity.

If a deal fails to materialise the airline could be dragged into bankruptcy by creditors, putting at stake the livelihoods of its 22,000 employees.

Jet Airways shares were 2.85 percent up at Rs 151.80 on BSE during end of trading hours today.

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