EVEN as Jet Airway’s lenders are confident of selling their stake in the temporarily grounded airline, they have prepared a contingency plan which includes taking the company to Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), sources said. Industry insiders told IANS in Mumbai that all efforts are on to see that the stake sale process goes through as planned and is successfully implemented, however, DRT remains as “the last option.” “Going to the DRT remains as a last option.
This is the natural progression of recovery, if the stake sale process fails,” a senior banking industry source told IANS. “The company owns 16 aircraft and some assets which have already been pledged.” The DRT facilitates the recovery of debt involving banks and other financial institutions with their customers. Approaching the DRT, as a last option is a major departure from the earlier speculation that the airline will be taken to the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal). The airline owes over Rs 8,000 crore to its lenders.
At present, lenders are keen to complete the stake sale process in a time-bound manner. “We have some serious and interested bidders. We expect to receive the binding bids by May 10. There is no talk of lenders taking a haircut or a minimum threshold level that will be accepted,” another source said. On Jet’s temporarily grounded status and re-allocation of its lucrative time slots at the airport, sources in Delhi said: “These re-allocations are just for three months.
This is an interim arrangement. By the end of this re-allocation period, the whole stake sale process would also be completed.” “Even if the slots are re-allocated for three months, the value of the company will not diminish. It will still remain a very attractive buying opportunity.” Last Thursday, briefing the media, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that “280 slots in Mumbai and more than 160 slots in Delhi” are left vacant after Jet’s temporarily grounding. These slots will be re-allocated by a committee comprising airport operators, Airport Authority of India and DGCA.