Sunday, January 20, 2019

Jet's lenders awaiting Sebi decision on exemptions to Etihad: SBI chairman

Gandhinagar: The State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders has not rejected Etihad Airways’ bailout offer for financially stressed Jet Airways and is waiting for the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi’s) decision on granting exemptions to the foreign player, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Saturday.

Etihad, which holds a 24 per cent stake in India’s second-largest airline, has made an offer to invest only at Rs 150 per share, which is 53 per cent of Jet’s closing price of Rs 281.35 on Friday. The UAE-based carrier is also seeking an exemption from Sebi on preference pricing and open offer guidelines to invest more for the bailout.

“We are nobody to reject anybody’s resolution plan. We are saying that there is a regulation governed by Sebi. What we have to see is that what Sebi says,” Kumar said on the sidelines of an event at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar. “If no regulatory exemption is required, then it is easier (to resolve). If a regulatory exemption is required, then they have to approach the regulator and we need to know the regulator’s view," he added.
Jet owes over Rs 8,000 crore to the SBI-led consortium. The lenders are now wary of a Kingfisher-like situation, after the airline defaulted on loan repayments in December. Etihad’s offer comes with riders, that Jet’s founder and chairman, Naresh Goyal, who holds a 51 per cent stake, give up the board seat and reduce his stake to 22 per cent, and that the debt is not allowed to be converted into equity.
19/01/19 Vinay Umarji/Business Standard

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