Jet lenders send desperate feelers to buyers, eye revival plan if all fails

Private equity players TPG, Indigo Partners and the government-anchored National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) are teaming up to submit an expression of interest (EoI) for Jet AirwaysNSE -1.17 %, said multiple sources, even as lenders explore an alternative by way of an operational turnaround if the bidding evokes lukewarm response.

The distressed airline’s lenders have also approached Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM to gauge their interest. One of the sources said teams from the two foreign airline companies are in India, though it could not be independently verified if they will submit a bid. Sources in the civil aviation ministry said they were unaware of the global airlines being approached.

State Bank of India, the lead lender to the airline, had also approached PE funds such as Blackstone to evaluate if they would be interested if Jet’s loyalty programme were to be monetised. But sources said that would be possible only after the airline itself is stabilised.

The SBI-led consortium of lenders on Thursday asked interested parties to submit EoIs between April 6 and April 9, advancing and shortening the time frame that had earlier been announced.

The TPG-led consortium will evaluate the EoI conditions once they are made public over the weekend, said an official in the know. TPG and Indigo Partners have been in the mix before, and were engaged with SBI. They needed an Indian partner, and NIIF was the obvious vehicle, he added.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority