Letter to BS: SBI should be more pragmatic in finding buyers for Jet

This refers to “Airlines in India may skip Jet takeover deal” by Arindam Majumder, Shally Seth Mohile and Nivedita Mookerji (March 28). It is quite clear that selling Jet Airways is not going to be an easy task. The State Bank of India’s (SBI) expectations to find a buyer and its assertion that the banks hope to conclude the deal by May is just a pipe dream. The consortium, especially SBI, should be more pragmatic. Having been witness to the Air India sale saga for years, one would've thought, we had learnt some lessons.

The real reasons — as indeed your report points out — are high cost of buy, corporate governance issues and weak financials. These are going to be major road blocks in the sale of this once great airline. The lenders’ consortium, who are the new owners, would do well to (a) peg their sights low and be realistic and (b) be prepared to accept whatever a potential buyer, domestic or foreign, perceives as the real value of the airline. They should be willing to sell a clean product without any baggage of old staff and any other ties with the past owners. The buyer — if we are able to find one — would want to earn from his investment and it would be possible only if it is a clean deal without any encumbrances.

Krishan Kalra  Gurugram
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