Naresh Goyal quits Jet Airways, halves stake in struggling airline.
Naresh Goyal’s stake will be cut to 25.5 percent from the current 51 percent, while Etihad Airways’ stake in the debt-laden carrier will also be halved to 12 percent to make room for the banks to take a controlling stake of 50.5 percent in the airline, TV channel ET Now reported citing unnamed sources.
Saddled with more than $1 billion of debt, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of which have forced the airline to ground as many as 40 planes. Jet has survived a near-death experience once before; in 2013, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways injected $600 million of capital for a 24 percent stake in the airline, three London Heathrow slots and a majority share in Jet’s frequent flyer programme. The infusion helped Jet pare down debt and fight growing domestic competition, reported Reuters. The government has asked state-run banks, led by SBI, to rescue Jet without pushing it into bankruptcy, seeking to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election. The reports of Goyal’s departure led to a rally in Jet’s shares of more than 12 percent.