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Jet Airways may offload JetPrivilege stake to weather financial headwinds

Facing financial headwinds, Jet Airways is reportedly planning to monetise JetPrivilege, its frequent flyer programme.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: August 13, 2018  | 17:32 IST
Jet Airways may offload JetPrivilege stake to weather financial headwinds

The troubles of turbulence-hit Jet Airways are showing no signs of abatement. Days after Naresh Goyal-owned airline deferred the quarterly financial results, audit firm BSR & Co, an affiliate of KPMG India, has reportedly refused to sign the first quarter results of Jet Airways due to differing views over interpretations of some accounting rules, The Economic Times reported. It added that BSR might even consider resigning from the account if the issue is not resolved.

In another report, the daily said that the debt-laden airline has initiated a formal stake-sale process to raise $350-400 million from global private equity firms. The full-service carrier is going through rough weather owing to rise in fuel costs and pile up of interests due to huge debt on its books. It added that Jet Airways has put out feelers to PE funds including Blackstone, TPG and Indigo Capital Partners.

The troubled airline is planning to monetise its JPMiles programme. Jet Airways had sold the majority stake of its frequent flyer loyalty programme to Etihad Airways in 2014. The Gulf-based carrier had picked up 50.1 per cent stake in JetPrivilege for $150 million. Goyal, who raised Jet Airways from the scratch after India opened its skies for private carriers in 1991, has roped in an investment bank to offload some of the stake, the report said.

In 2013, Jet Airways had sold 24 per cent equity to Etihad Airways for $379 million after the government allowed foreign airlines to take up to 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers.

Jet Airways' negative net worth is well over Rs 7,000 crore with total liabilities of Rs 19,743 crore against total assets of Rs 12,501 crore. In May 2018, ratings agency ICRA lowered credit ratings on its short-term and long-term loans due to weakening finances. The airline's cost of fuel as a percentage of operations shot up from nearly 40 per cent 2 years ago to nearly 65 per cent today.

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