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Jet Airways insolvency: FSTC-led consortium promises $100 million initial investment to revive airline

The consortium has also got the backing of serial entrepreneur Ajay Relan.

July 25, 2020 / 02:03 PM IST

The consortium of Flight Simulation Technique Centre Pvt Ltd, Big Charter Pvt Ltd, and Imperial Capital Investments LLC, have secured an initial funding of $100 million that will be used to revive Jet Airways.

"We have secured a funding of $100 million through our partners, to start with," Biraja Jena, chairman of Imperial Capital, told Moneycontrol. The Dubai-based investment banking and wealth management company has also brought in Taha Group - a Middle-East based business house - as an investor, in the consortium.

The consortium is one of the two suitors who have placed bids of the airline that had suspended its operations in April 2019.

The second consortium consists of London-based financial services firm Kalrock Capital and entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan. The two bidders had submitted their plans on July 21. 

It is further learnt that private equity major Xponentia, co-founded by industry veteran Ajay Relan, has also marked an investment of Rs 100 crore, into Jet Airways. Relan sits on the board of Flight Simulation Technique Centre Pvt Ltd (FSTC), which was co-founded by two former pilots - Sanjay Mandavia and DS Basraon.

The development comes even as the Jet Airways insolvency process enters a crucial phase. Sources indicate that the airline's banks, led by State Bank of India, may meet over the weekend to discuss the two bids. "There could be a decision on the winning bid by early next week," said a senior executive from the industry.

Sources added that the Kalrock Capital led consortium has also got the backing of investors and aviation industry veterans, including two executives who were part of the senior management at Jet Airways. This may include Nikos Kardassis, the former CEO of the airline, and considered close to founder Naresh Goyal.

Jet Airways owes banks about Rs 8,000 crore, and has claims of over Rs 30,000 crore.

Two plans

The FSTC-Imperial Capital consortium has proposed to restart Jet Airways with five to 10 aircraft. These will be used to cater to routes between metros in the country.

"As Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pointed out recently, the Indian aviation sector, despite the COVID-19 disruption, is best positioned to grow. At Jet Airways, the plan is to honour the airline's order book with Boeing. We will negotiate with the airline manufacturer," said sources close to the consortium.

Modi, while recently addressing a summit organized by the US-India Business Council, had talked about private airlines planning to add more than a thousand aircraft in their fleet over the next decade.

On the other hand, Kalrock Capital-led consortium plans to restart Jet Airways operations with over 20 aircraft. It plans to fly both, on domestic and international routes.

The airline, before it got grounded, had an extensive operation, including to domestic and international destinations. It was the only private airline from the country to fly to long haul destinations in Europe and North America.
Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: Jul 25, 2020 02:03 pm