Jet Airways India Ltd.'s lenders invited initial bids to buy as much as 75 percent of the debt-laden carrier, starting a process that will determine the future of India's oldest surviving private airline.
Potential buyers must submit their interest by April 10, State Bank of India Ltd., the lead creditor, said in a document Monday. A strategic bidder should have a net worth of at least Rs. 1,000 crore ($144 million) in the preceding financial year, or at least three years of experience in the airline business.
The airline is credited with successfully breaking the monopoly of state-run Air India Ltd. and was once India's second-biggest carrier, but its fleet has dwindled to 26 planes from 124 as recently as January. Shares of Jet Airways fell 1.5 percent to Rs. 252.30 as of 9:42 a.m. in Mumbai, extending this year's losses to 9.1 percent. The stock dropped 67 percent last year.
Jet Airways, part-owned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways PJSC, needs Rs. 8,500 crore to get back on its feet after a fare war by budget airlines wiped out profits and it racked up debt of more than $1 billion.