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Wednesday, 11 September, 2019, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Synergy Group signs NDA for Jet’s buyout bid

South American conglomerate the Synergy Group has signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the resolution professional of Jet Airways, reports The Hindu Business Line. This is the first formal step to acquire the Indian airline and is an indication that the company is a serious bidder for Jet’s assets.

The Synergy Group is the first company to sign an NDA so far. Signing an NDA is mandatory for any company to get access to the data room. A data room essentially has all the important documents related to the company on the block, including contracts for aircraft, agreements with vendors, information relating to employees and other financial data.

Synergy will be given some time to examine the books of the airline as part of the due diligence. Once the company completes the exercise, it will place a financial bid for acquiring the assets. The South American company had submitted an expression of interest (EoI) a fortnight ago to buy Jet. “The Resolution Professional of Jet Airways Ashish Chhawchharia of Grant Thornton had floated the NDA in the first week of September. Earlier this week, Synergy signed the NDA,” said a source.

Synergy owns a majority stake in Avianca Airlines, the second largest airline in South America. It also has a code-share partnership with Air India. However, Avianca is yet to deposit the mandatory access fee. According to a source, “In some cases, it is necessary for the potential bidder to submit the fee to get access to the data room. In situations like that of Jet, which has very few prospects, the lenders can waive off the deposit fee,” said a source.  

The person added: “The fact that Synergy has signed the NDA itself is an indication that it is serious about bidding.”  

Synergy is eyeing an at least 49 per cent stake in the airline. A source had told Business Line that Synergy may ask for a 60-80 per cent haircut from the lenders of Jet Airways as a pre-condition to pick up an equity stake in Jet Airways. The company may also ask the lenders to convert 10-20 per cent of their total debt into equity.  As part of the plan to revive the airline, there could be a demand for downsizing the workforce from the current 14,000 employees to 7,000.  Synergy Group’s founder German Efromovich is likely to meet Jet lenders and Civil Aviation Ministry officials during a visit scheduled for September 15.

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