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Jet Airways, Etihad deal now awaits Sebi, CCI nod

BT Online Bureau     August 5, 2013
Jet Airways and Etihad Airways may have heaved a sigh of relief when the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approved their Rs 2,058-crore deal, albeit with some riders, but the airlines still await two crucial votes of confidence.

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and fair trade watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) will take up the FDI proposal for consideration this week.

Concerns about a possible change in control of Jet Airways in favour of Etihad, with just a 24 per cent stake, were first raised by Sebi and CCI and became the main reason for the proposed deal getting stuck for weeks together.

The deal is the first foreign direct investment (FDI) by a foreign airline into India.

It was cleared by FIPB late in July only after the two parties agreed to suitably change their shareholder agreement to address the control-related and other concerns raised by the regulators.

The two companies are now hopeful of winning over at least one regulator's go-ahead this week itself.

Sebi and CCI have been informed about the changes agreed upon by Jet and Etihad in their original agreement and these amendments have taken into account the earlier clarifications sought by the two regulators, sources said.

Jet Airways still requires approval of its shareholders in India for an amended shareholder agreement and Article of Association, for which it needs to file these documents with the stock exchanges.

If the changes mentioned in these documents are in-line with the conditional approval given by the FIPB meeting and as per the changes agreed upon before Sebi and CCI, the deal is unlikely to face any further regulatory hurdles, a senior official said.

The deal has already missed its original deadline of July 31 and the two parties are now keen to complete it before the new deadline of August 31 and their rush is evident from their legal and regulatory advisors working over time on weekends as well, he added.

FIPB has also referred the deal for Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) clearance.

With inputs from PTI

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