Jet Airways’ desperate search for a new investor takes it to the US, Singapore and UAE


  • Ahead of a potential exit by Etihad Airways at the end of this month, Jet Airways’ main creditor, the State Bank of India, and its founder Naresh Goyal, who recently resigned, have reportedly ramped up the search for a new investor.
  • SBI is said to be in preliminary talks with TPG Capital, a private equity major, while Goyal is pursuing an investment from Delta Airlines.
  • In addition to TPG and Delta, Singapore’s private equity fund Temasek and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) are also said to be in talks to purchase a stake in the airline.

Ahead of a potential exit by Etihad Airways at the end of this month, Jet Airways’ main creditor, the State Bank of India, and its founder Naresh Goyal, who recently resigned, have reportedly ramped up the search for a new investor.

In fact, the hunt has taken SBI and Goyal, who owns a minority stake, to the US, according to media reports. SBI is said to be in preliminary talks with TPG Capital, a private equity major, while Goyal is pursuing an investment from Delta Airlines, which has an operational alliance with Jet in India.

Interestingly, private equity firm TPG Capital was said to be eyeing a stake in Jet’s loyalty programme Jet Privilege in August last year, although a deal never materialised.

A new investor is “critical” to Jet’s future, the airline’s CFO, Amit Agarwal, told ET earlier this week. Jet desperately needs a cash infusion. An official at the company told Moneycontrol that a buyer would have to pump ₹45 billion as part of the airline’s turnaround plan.

In addition to TPG and Delta, Singapore’s private equity fund Temasek and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) are also said to be in talks to purchase a stake in the airline.

The bidding process opens in the second week of April and concludes at the end of next month. Most Indian airlines are expected to steer clear of the bidding.

The reports of Jet’s investor hunt come a day after Jet was unable to make a scheduled payment on an external commercial borrowing (ECB) facility owing to a liquidity crunch. The airline has also been unable to pay salaries to its pilots and support staff as well as aircraft vendors.

Under the airline’s resolution plan, a consortium of banks, led by SBI, will convert their debt to equity, taking a majority stake of 50.1% in the process.

Meanwhile, Goyal, who has resigned as the airline’s chairman and board member, will see his shareholding whittle down from 50.1% to 25.5%. Etihad will take a final call on whether to sell its 24% stake in Jet or not on March 31st.



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