Jet Airways will move forward with aircraft sales as part of its proposed bank-led provisional resolution plan, while continuing to work on selling part of its stake in loyalty programme Jet Privilege in the longer-term.
Speaking during the airline’s 15 February earnings call, chief financial officer Amit Agarwal says that plans to sell or enter into sale-and-leaseback transactions on 16 aircraft in its fleet are expected to move forward.
“As far as the aircraft is concerned, we have identified the potential buyer, both for sale as well as sale-and-leaseback of some of the other aircraft, and we are well on track and that is considered part of the resolution plan which had been approved by the board yesterday.”
The resolution programme, which involves a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India, aims to cover a funding gap estimated at Rs85 billion ($1.28 billion) that the cash-strapped airline is facing.
Agarlwal adds that while the airline will “continue to work on the stake sale” of Jet Privilege, this will not be done “immediately” and is hence “not part of the resolution plan”.
The loyalty programme is 50.1% owned by Etihad Aviation Group, which also holds a 24% stake in Jet. Last year the airline placed a priority on monetising its 49.9% stake in the company to raise additional cash.
Under the resolution plan, part of the airline’s funding gap will be met by the lenders converting Rs1.14 billion of Jet’s debt into equity. That would result in them becoming the largest shareholders in the airline. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.on 21 February
It is not clear what stake the banks will hold after that debt-equity swap, nor to what extent chairman Naresh Goyal’s 51% stake and Etihad’s stake will be diluted.
It is also unclear clear if Goyal will retain his role as chairman, as the banks will nominate an unidentified number of directors to the airline’s board, and an “appropriate governance structure” put in place to meet all regulatory requirements, Jet says.