Naresh Goyal, founder and chairman of Jet Airways. Photo: AFP
Naresh Goyal, founder and chairman of Jet Airways. Photo: AFP

A consortium of lenders to debt-laden Jet Airways is expected to emerge as the largest shareholder once the Indian airline undergoes restructuring. The consortium, led by State Bank of India (SBI), is expected to hold around 40% of the airline, while the stake of its founder chairman Naresh Goyal could fall to around 24% from 51% currently. Jet Airways partner Etihad Airways, which currently holds a 24%, may increase its stake by 2-3%, Business Standard reports.

Other lenders apart from SBI are HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, Canara Bank, IDBI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

Meanwhile the troubled airline had to issue a statement to scotch speculation around its foreign partner Etihad offering to raise its stake at a price that is nearly half of the January 15 closing price. The media reports highlighting this had led to the hammering of Jet Airways stock, which fell 7.95% on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it plunged more than 5% intraday.

SBI too issued a statement denying media reports related to Etihad raising its stake in Jet Airways at a discount. The bank clarified that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the Reserve Bank of India framework and it would ensure long-term viability of the company. It would be subject to all necessary clearances of the RBI, stock-market watchdog the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Civil Aviation ministry, the bank added.

The loss-making airline has a debt of 82 billion rupees (US$1.15 billion). It earlier delayed salaries, laid off staff, grounded planes and pruned flights.

It also owes money to lessors and vendors. The airline earlier defaulted on the rental payments for its leased aircraft. Of its total fleet of 124 aircraft, as many as 108 are on lease.

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