Synergy Group seeks extension to submit bid for Jet Airways

Synergy Group seeks extension to submit bid for Jet Airways
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South America-based Synergy Group has sought time tillFebruary to submit its resolution plan for Jet Airways dashing hopes of anearly revival. The airline's lenders will meet next week to consider the request.

Synergy Group, the sole contender to revive the groundedairline, had time till Friday to submit its bid. However, the group has soughttime as it wants clarity on securing airport slots in India and London.

Jet Airways shut down on April 17 and is under the insolvency process since June as lenders failed to find a suitor. "The group is engaged with Jet management and the resolution professional. It is also looking to secure slots at London Heathrow airport which can be critical for airline revival. The lenders will have to find merit in the request and take a call on extending the deadline," said a source aware of the development. The group's Bolivian born founder German Effromovich visited India in September to discuss revival plans with civil aviation ministry and resolution professional Ashish Chhawchharia.

Some experts, however, believe liquidation of assets as the only option now given the challenges and delays in revival. The airline's resolution professional has admitted creditor claims of over Rs 14,000 crore. Synergy group which owns Avianca Airlines in South America would also have to find a strong Indian partner to co-invest in line with foreign investment rules in aviation.

Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a resolution plan must be completed in 180 days. A one-time 90-day extension can be permitted. Lenders can decide on liquidation of assets even prior to completion of six months deadline and that requires final approval from the insolvency court. Similarly, for extension of the bid deadline submission deadline, court approval would be needed.

The National Company Law Tribunal had in its June order had instructed for completion of resolution process in 90 days given the importance of the matter. The NCLT Mumbai bench had refused to take cognizance of a Dutch court which too initiated insolvency proceedings against the airline. However, the appellate tribunal set aside the NCLT order and allowed the Dutch administrator to take part in the committee of creditors meetings.

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