SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar. (PTI)
SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar. (PTI)

Expect to find a buyer for Jet Airways by 31 May: SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar

  • The bidding process for Jet Airways' sale to a new investor will be completed in the June quarter, says the SBI chairman
  • The Jet Airways stake sale is open to everyone, including outgoing chairman Naresh Goyal and shareholder Etihad Airways

New Delhi: State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday said that it expects investors for the cash-strapped Jet Airways (India) Ltd by the end of May and founder Naresh Goyal has option of increasing his stake in the beleaguered airline to beyond 25% in the future.

Naresh Goyal resigned as chairman of Jet Airways on Monday, two decades after he started the full-service airline. Jet Airways lenders, led by SBI, will immediately infuse 1,500 crore in the airline.

Lenders will subsequently acquire 51% stake in the airline by issuing 11.4 crore new shares. This move will reduce Goyal's stake in Jet Airways to 25% from 50%, while Etihad Airways' stake will pare down to 12% from 24 at present.

The bidding process for Jet Airways' sale to new investors is expected to be completed in the June quarter, according to the lenders' bailout plan for the airline.

"June is too late. My expectation is 31 May...market is open for everyone whosoever wants to come in. There will be expression of interest which will be given by 9 April and binding bid by 30 April," SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar told CNBC TV18. "It could be financial investor, it could be (an) airline...including Naresh Goyal himself or Etihad. Nobody is barred from bidding or taking over the airline as per the rule."

Lenders will now constitute an interim management at Jet Airways, which will monitor the daily cash flow and operations of the airline at the instruction of lenders.

On Monday, Jet Airways share rose 12.69% to 254.50 apiece on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex fell 0.93% to end the day at 37,808.91 points.

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