January 24, 2019 / 8:54 AM / a month ago

SEBI has no "view" on relaxing norms for Jet bailout

A Jet Airways passenger plane prepares to land past a new air traffic control tower under construction at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s capital markets regulator said on Wednesday it had not expressed an opinion on giving any relaxation to cash-strapped carrier Jet Airways Ltd, which is struggling to finalise a bailout deal with its major shareholder Etihad Airways.

Jet Airways, hurt by high fuel prices, a weak rupee and intense domestic competition, is struggling to stay afloat and owes money to banks, employees, vendors and lessors - some of which are exploring taking back aircraft, sources have told Reuters.

Etihad, which holds a 24 percent stake in Jet, is seeking an exemption from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on preference pricing and open offer guidelines to increase its stake in the cash-strapped carrier, local media reported.

SEBI is unlikely to exempt Etihad from making an open offer despite persuasion from one of Jet’s lenders, State Bank of India, which reportedly is trying to broker a bailout deal, the Economic Times newspaper reported earlier on Thursday.

“Some newspapers have published reports attributing views of SEBI on certain relaxations of regulations with respect to Jet Airways ... SEBI has neither received any reference in this regard from any quarter nor has it expressed any views in the matter,” the regulator said in a statement.

Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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