Anil Agarwal pulls out of race for acquiring grounded Jet Airways

Anil Agarwal
A day after submitting an expression of interest (EoI) for Jet Airways, billionaire businessman Anil Agarwal on Monday said he did not wish to pursue it any further, thereby pulling out of the race. 

“The EoI for Jet Airways by Volcan was exploratory in nature. On further evaluation and considering other priorities, we intend to not pursue this further,” said Anil Agarwal. Agarwal through his family investment arm, Volcan Investments, had submitted an EoI for Jet. 

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates-based Eithad Airways on Monday said they did not submit an EoI for Jet because of unresolved issues pertaining to the beleaguered airline’s liabilities. 

Etihad Airways has declined to lodge an EoI to reinvest in Jet Airways because of unresolved issues concerning Jet’s liabilities. This decision is unrelated to and does not affect Etihad’s continued commitment to India, the airline’s largest-single market, and one which it has served for 15 years,” said Eithad Airways. The deadline for submission of EoI for Jet Airways ended on August 10. Initially, the defunct airline received three EoIs, including that from Volcan Investment. The other two EoIs were received from Panama-based Avantulo Group and a Russian company.

The remaining two EoIs will now be scrutinised by the resolution professional (RP) and submitted to the committee of creditors (CoC) in the next meeting. The CoC will decide whether the groups are eligible to submit bids for revival.

In a statement to the exchanges, the RP had earlier said the provisional list of prospective resolution applicants would be issued on August 13. The possible date of submitting a resolution plan to the adjudicating authority — National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) — is September 27.

Before Jet was referred to insolvency by the bankers after failing to find a suitor for the debt-ridden airline, Eithad had submitted a conditional EoI as minority shareholder with the help of a strategic partner, however, it did not materialise. Eithad was the first foreign airline to pick up a significant stake in an Indian airline after foreign direct investment norms for the aviation sector were liberalised by the government. Eithad had picked 24 per cent stake in Jet in 2013. “Etihad has consistently and constructively sought and advanced solutions to help resolve Jet’s issues. Etihad remained engaged in the process, but despite the endeavours of everyone involved in the process, there remained some significant issues relating to Jet’s previous liabilities,” said Eithad in a statement. 

The RP handling Jet’s insolvency has received claims of more than Rs 24,000 crore from its lenders, vendors, travel agents, and employees. The RP has admitted 33 claims from banks worth Rs 8,462 crore, and is verifying Rs 15,044-crore claims from operational creditors and staff. 

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