Sucheta Dalal :Jet Airways waiting FIPB clearance for QIP
Sucheta Dalal

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Jet Airways waiting FIPB clearance for QIP  

October 29, 2009


Jet Airways, the Naresh Goyal promoted airline, is eagerly awaiting clearance from the Foreign Investment and Promotion Board (FIPB) to raise $400 million through qualified institutional placements (QIPs).
Last week, the government deferred Jet Airways’ proposal to issue 79.2 million fresh shares at a price of Rs252.50 per share to raise $400 million through the QIP route.
"A meeting has been scheduled on 30th October to address our case for the FIPB clearance, along with a couple of other airlines," said an official from the carrier. Expecting a positive outcome from the meeting, Jet hopes to raise the funds by 3rd November, the official added.
The airline had planned to raise the funds from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) as the appetite for domestic investment in the aviation sector in India is not strong. Jet Airways has a consolidated gross debt of $3.1 billion, including $2.2 billion of aircraft debt. Its current payment obligations amount to about $330 million that includes repayment of debt, payment to creditors and pending obligation to SICCI towards Jetlite. After buying Sahara Airlines from Sahara group, Jet Airways renamed it as Jetlite.
For the quarter to end-September, Jet Airways reported a net loss of Rs4.10 billion from Rs3.80 billion as its revenues fell 27% to Rs23.80 billion from Rs32.60 billion, same period last year. The carrier has had to suffer a loss of Rs800 million due to a five-day pilot’s strike in September that resulted in close to 1,300 domestic flights and close to 200 international flights being cancelled.
"Domestic air traffic appears to have started reviving in the last few months based on recent traffic data. This, along with the peak season impact in third quarter, will help airlines to improve yields, which otherwise had been severely impacted due to the recession and lean season impact in second quarter," Jet Airways said in a release.
The company is planning to cut costs across its operations to improve its revenues. "We expect unit costs to be down by 10% year-on-year across all fields excluding fuel," the official added.
Jet Airways said that during the quarter, fuel prices increased by 17.4% as compared to the April to June quarter and this led to an additional cost impact of Rs1.10 billion.
IDFC-SSKI Securities Ltd in a report said, "With the macro-environment turning optimistic and the cost curve of the industry at its bare bones, we expect the cash losses of Jet to get limited, marking the beginning of a turnaround. However, with consolidated debt at $3.1 billion and payment obligations at around $330 million, capitalisation concerns continue to dominate. Jet's ability to raise funds through a QIP, sale and lease back of assets and sale of its land bank remains a critical moniterable going ahead."
During the quarter, Jet Airways reported revenues of about $35.5 million from its lease business. However, six out of its total nine aircraft currently on lease with various operators in the Gulf are expected to come off from September onwards. As per media reports, Jet was in discussions with Oman Air and Etihad to lease out two of its Boeing 777 wide-body airplanes.
"We are looking at expenses involved in each comparable item specifically for Jet Konnect. For example, the enhanced vision systems (EVS) costs are irrelevant. Cost cutting in fuel consumption, engineering costs and such other fields would be considered," said Saroj K Datta, executive director, Jet Airways.
Jet Konnect, which operates 130 flights daily, is the carrier’s no-frills all economy class service in key domestic routes and is designed to meet the needs of the low fare segment.
–Yogesh Sapkale with Amritha Pillay [email protected]

-- Sucheta Dalal