Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Will Interups give a fresh lease of life to TruJet?

Confusion about the Hyderabad-based regional carrier TruJet and its future remains. First, there was speculation about the airline’s financial health and whether it would be able to survive the COVID-19 impact. Then, in April this year, came the news that Interups, a US-based fund had acquired a 49 percent stake in the airline.

TruJet, promoted by Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha Airways Pvt Ltd, started operations in July 2015.

This week, Laxmi Prasad, Chairman, Interups, said that Interups has tied up with a US- based company, Finexic, for investing in TruJet. Interups, he said, is also in talks with a Saudi Arabian company and a London-based Non-Resident Indian (NRI).

Interups has over 27,500 qualified asset accounts owned by US-based NRIs.

Prasad, however, declined to give details of the talks with the Saudi Arabian company as he is waiting for a confirmation letter from the company.

“Finexic matches dollar for dollar with us at a 7 percent coupon optionally convertible preference shares through a Singapore entity that is owned by one listed Indian company. We are in the process of acquiring this company to hold assets in India and run fund and non-fund based financial verticals,” Prasad said.

What if Saudi company or NRI backs out?

If there is no confirmation from the Saudi company or from the London-based NRI, “we will fund the gap of Rs 315 crore, along with our investing partner FCG. By August 31, we should definitely be completing our first leg of funding,” he said. TruJet needs another Rs 765 crore for year-2 capital infusion.

Prasad would like one to believe that he has the airline’s revival all planned out. He claims that till the first infusion, Interups has sought the previous management’s help to keep supporting the airline, and, in exchange, has issued them a secured promissory note.

“Infusion of Rs 1,575 crore and Rs 765 crore in a year with a wet-lease arrangement from another domestic airline will make TruJet a national carrier, with a support expansion into cargo and medical services to balance airline revenues,” Prasad adds.

21/07/21 Ashwini Phadnis/Moneycontrol

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