Even as it appeared that the troubled private airline Jet Airways may go in for liquidation, there appears to be some ray of hope following the interest shown by the Synergy Group, a South America-based business house. An advisor to the founder of the Synergy Group, German Efromovich, has revealed to the media some of the plans the Bolivia-born investor may have for Jet Airways.
There may be an immediate infusion of upto Rs 3,000 crore and the Synergy Group may want to convert Jet Airways into an international budget carrier. But those things may come later. First, Efromovich is expected to come to India and sit across with the lenders to the airline and submit his financial proposals. How much of a cut he expects the lenders to take and how much will the lenders be willing to sacrifice, are all aspects to be considered and decisions that need to be arrived at.
The current Indian laws on foreign investments governing the aviation sector do not permit a foreign company, with interests in the aviation business, to hold more than 49% equity. Only if the foreign investor is a non-airline company, then this stake can be taken to 74%. Synergy Global is very much involved in the aviation business having taken over a bankrupt airline Avianca and turned it around. So, its still a long way to go, but a ray of hope, nevertheless.
The lenders to Jet Airways, led by the State Bank of India, would want to know more about the Synergy Group before they give a green signal. Observers are quick to point out that the Synergy Group owner German Efromovich had faced some issues due to non-payment of a loan and had faced insolvency. He had pledged his holdings in Avianca to borrow the loan and there was a default. His offer will be evaluated on many parameters and only then a decision by the Committee of Creditors of Jet Airways can be taken.