Naresh Goyal pledges his entire 51 pc stake in Jet Airways to PNB

Mumbai: Jet Airways' main promoter and chairman Naresh Goyal has pledged his entire shareholding in the carrier of 51 per cent, valued at over Rs 2,600 crore, to state-run Punjab National Bank.

The airline, in a regulatory filing this evening, said Goyal has pledged his entire 57,933,665 shares constituting 51 percent holding in the airline effective January 8 to PNB with a "non-disposal undertaking".

Jet Airways
Jet Airways

While the reason for pledging of shares was not disclosed, this comes at a time when he aviation sector is going through tough times. Low cost carrier SpiceJet is currently in financial troubles, while Kingfisher Airline is grounded since since October 2012.

Air fuel prices have come down in the recent past due to falling crude price, but they still remain very high and other operating costs also steep in this business. A new player Air Vistara recently entered the sector as a full-service carrier, intensifying the competition and triggering a fresh round of possible airfare war -- a frequent phenomenon in this otherwise ailing sector.

UAE based Etihad holds 24 per cent stake in Jet as a strategic partner which it bought last year, while the remaining shares are owned by institutional and retail investors. The carrier, whose share price today soared by over 5 per cent to Rs 464.25 apiece, has a total market value of Rs 5,274 crore.

The loss-making airline is saddled with a debt of Rs 9,794 crore as of the September quarter, down 7 per cent from Rs 10,576  crore as of March 2014. This has helped it cut its interest burden 15 per cent to Rs 212.27 crore during the second quarter of the fiscal, the report said.

The airline has not stated how much money it has borrowed from PNB nor could be reached for comments. The bank also
could not be reached for comments immediately.

In the September quarter the airline, which had from December 1 discontinued its low-cost brand JetLite, had reported a 96 per cent reduction in net losses on a one-time income by way of sale of JPmiles to Etihad.

A one-time income of Rs 305 crore from sale of its loyalty programme to equity partner Etihad helped Jet Airways slash losses to the tune of 95.7 per cent at Rs 43 crore in the three months to September. The airline had reported a whopping Rs 999 crore net loss in the same period a year ago.

For the first time since 2012, the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline, however, on a standalone basis flew back into profit with a net profit of Rs 69.82 crore helped by the one-time income, the airline said in a release.

Consolidated income rose 13.7 per cent to Rs 5,092 crore during the quarter as against Rs 4,480 crore a year ago.

Stand-alone income jumped 16 per cent to Rs 4,772 crore from Rs 4,101 crore, the airline had said. The Mumbai-based full service carrier has 113 planes in its fleet, of which 26 are owned by the carrier and the rest 87 are leased.

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