Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Jet Airways revival plans hang in balance as resolution plan with creditors ‘appears falling apart’

Jet Airways revival plan: The future of Jet Airways is uncertain since creditors and the company’s new owners cannot agree on a resolution plan to save the Indian airline from bankruptcy, according to four sources.

If a crucial court hearing on Tuesday ends without a resolution, creditors may contact India’s aviation ministry to request permission to liquidate Jet’s assets, a top banker warned.

“There are concerns the resolution plan may fall apart so we are looking to see if we can at least get something out of this deal via the liquidation route,” the banker, who has direct knowledge of the matter, told Reuters on Monday.

Jet, once the largest private airline in India, stopped operating in April 2019 after running out of money. Creditors who owed the company roughly 180 billion rupees ($2 billion) brought it before the bankruptcy court. After the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) accepted a reorganisation plan in June, Jet was expected to start operating again in the first quarter of 2022 under its new owners.

Jet Airways revival plan

However, tensions between the new owners, a group that includes tycoon Murari Lal Jala of the UAE and London-based Kalrock Capital, and its lenders run the risk of thwarting Jet’s revival. The resolution plan was accepted by the bankruptcy court and was binding on all parties concerned, a representative for Jet’s owners said in a statement on Monday.

“We are “working closely” with the erstwhile lenders of Jet to implement this plan, and remain “fully committed” to getting Jet Airways off the ground,” it added.

The primary creditor in the group, State Bank of India, declined to comment. An email from Reuters seeking comment was not immediately answered by the court-appointed resolution specialist in charge of the matter.

According to the banking source, Jet’s creditors estimate that it requires about 10 billion rupees in capital to fully fund its operations but has not been able to present that sum.

“So far they have only shown that they have received 1.5 billion rupees worth of bank guarantees and around 200 million of cash which is not adequate to run the operations,” he added.

However, a source close to Jet claimed that the company has met all of the requirements of the resolution plan, and the committee of creditors has also checked into the Jalan-Kalrock consortium’s capacity to provide capital.

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