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Synergy Group in talks with lenders, govt on grounded Jet Airways revival

A source privy to the development said the group's representatives were planning to meet aviation ministry officials this week before taking a call on whether to send a team for detailed due diligence

Aneesh Phadnis & Subrata Panda  |  Mumbai 

Jet Airways

South America-based Synergy Group, which has emerged the sole suitor for defunct Jet Airways, is said to have met the lenders of the airline on Monday to discuss its revival plans.

A source privy to the development said the group’s representatives were planning to meet aviation ministry officials this week before taking a call on whether to send a team for detailed due diligence.

Synergy Group is a majority shareholder in South America’s Avianca Airlines. Germán Efromovich, who leads the group, has arrived in India to discuss matters related to Jet. “So far, the talks with Synergy Group have been positive. They are meeting lenders today (Monday) and will meet ministry officials tomorrow or the day after,” said the source.

Synergy Group and Russian Fund RA Treasury were shortlisted after the deadline for submission of expression of interest (EoI) expired. However, during the vetting process, RA Treasury failed to make the cut, as it was unable to provide important information. Hence, the group is the sole entity to be shortlisted and has signed the non-disclosure agreement.

“Discussions with Synergy Group have been positive,” the source added.

Avantulo Group and RA Treasury were the first ones to submit their intent to revive Jet. While billionaire Anil Agarwal’s family trust Volcan Investment had put in an exploratory EoI, it opted out of the race two days later. Synergy Group submitted an EoI for the airline subsequently, raising hopes of its revival.

The Synergy Group is eyeing 49 per cent in the defunct airline and will discuss co-investment options with the lenders and other infrastructure companies, the group’s advisor had said earlier.

“We intend to structure the acquisition as a foreign company with 49 per cent stake. Jet is publicly listed and we hope lenders would be willing to convert their debt into equity. We will also discuss partnerships with Indian infrastructure firms. We have several options,” Antonio Guizzetti, president of consultancy G&A, which is advising the Synergy Group regarding the stake buy, had told Business Standard.

He had also said the amount of investment by the Synergy Group would depend on discussions and negotiations with banks and other creditors. The resolution professional (RP) of Jet has so far received claims of Rs 30,558 crore from financial creditors, operational creditors, and employees.

In the revised claims data put out by the RP, of the total claims of Rs 30,558 crore, Rs 12,555 crore have been accepted while Rs 11,995 crore worth of claims have been rejected. The remaining claims of Rs 6,055 crore are under verification. In terms of the number of claims, Jet has received 18,596, of which 13,911 have been admitted.

Jet was admitted under the insolvency process on June 20 after bankers failed to find any taker despite months of negotiations. Jet stopped flying on April 17, leaving over 14,000 employees in the lurch.

First Published: Mon, September 16 2019. 21:44 IST