South American conglomerate Synergy Group yesterday put forward an Expression of Interest (EOI) to invest in India’s bankrupt Jet Airways.The Group, created and owned by entrepreneur Germán Efromovich, already owns two-thirds of Avianca Airlines.
Writes the Economic Times, Efromovich’s EOI was lodged with Jet’s resolution team on Monday (26/08/19). Despite its being exploratory, Jet’s creditors are likely to be told that the bid is credible.
Consultancy firm Grant Thornton was hired by India’s bankruptcy court to administer insolvency proceedings and creditors’ claims against Jet. The carrier halted operations on April 17th this year after running out of cash.
As we reported earlier this month, three EOIs were previously received by the consortium managing Jet’s bankruptcy. In quick succession two of the three that had put forward an EOI dropped out. That left Russia’s state-sponsored Treasury of the Creator RA still in the running.
Synergy had missed out on a previous deadline of August 10th. A spokesperson for the company said of the latest development, “We do not have any information regarding the transaction you mentioned not can we make any statements on behalf of any of our shareholders.”
Synergy owns 66% of Avianca Holdings: the second-largest airline holding in Latin America after LATAM.
The Economic Times also reported on today’s extension of the deadline for companies to submit an EOI. Grant Thornton’s deadline now stretches to August 31st. The deadline had previously been extended from August 3rd to August 10th.Meanwhile, a committee of creditors set up in the wake of Jet’s demise will vote on whether or not to inject some funds into the airline in order to clear months of salary arrears.
“Lenders are happy to extend the deadline because then they will have at least two serious bidders to show in the NCLT,” writes ET.
“However, there is still some reluctance on lending more funds so it will be put to vote. The e-voting will most likely be done later this week.”
Since taking control of insolvency proceedings Jet Airways’ creditors have registered INR 305.6 Bn. Rupees (USD 4.2 Bn.) in claims against the grounded airline. So far, INR 125.6 Bn. Rupees (USD 1.7 Bn.) have been counted.
At the same time as attempts are being made to salvage Jet Airways, the founder and owner of the carrier Naresh Goyal looks likely to be investigated for money laundering.CH-Aviation reports that India’s legally sanctioned Enforcement Directorate (ED) intends to scrutinize Goyal’s diversion of loans received by Jet in its last years of operating. In particular, the ED is examining loans worth in excess of INR 90 Bn. Rupees (USD 1.2 Bn) of which, the ED suspects, Goyal siphoned 20-30%.
“[The investigation] indicates that Goyal structured various tax-evading schemes involving its domestic and foreign companies,” states the ED. “Thereby siphoning off huge amount in foreign jurisdictions through dubious or fictitious transactions.”
According to CH-Aviation, the ED is also looking into the financial wherewithal of Tail Winds Ltd. In 2013, Tail Winds Ltd, which was registered on the Isle of Man sold 2.51 crore shares to company chairman and owner Naresh Goyal at Rs 570 per share in a deal valuing Rs 1433 crore.
The ED has reportedly searched properties belonging to Goyal and Jet Airways’ headquarters at Mumbai International airport.