Jet Airways Said to Seek $300 Million Funding for Expansion

  • Indian carrier starts talks with investors other than Etihad
  • Jet Airways aims to sell stock at premium to current price

Jet Airways India Ltd., the carrier part-owned by Etihad Airways PJSC, is seeking to raise about $300 million to fund expansion on international routes, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline by passengers, has started talks on a potential equity fundraising from investors other than Etihad, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The company, which has a market value of 41.9 billion rupees ($619 million), aims to sell stock at a premium to its current share price, according to one of the people.  

Years of losses and a high debt load are severely restricting Jet Airways’s ability to expand its fleet aggressively, Mumbai-based brokerage IIFL Holdings Ltd. wrote in a Sept. 26 research report. The market share of Jet Airways has fallen in the past four years as the number of local carriers almost doubled to 11, according to data from the aviation regulator.

“New dynamics are emerging, which could see Jet Airways seeking funds outside of Etihad and could include strategic investors,” Kapil Kaul, South Asia chief executive officer at CAPA Centre for Aviation, said by phone Wednesday. “However, valuation will remain a challenge.”

Jet Airways faces competition from domestic carriers including SpiceJet Ltd., flag carrier Air India Ltd. and InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.’s IndiGo airline as it seeks to expand in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. It had 121.3 billion rupees of debt at the end of September, Jet Airways Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal said on a Nov. 15 conference call with analysts.

Discussions on the fundraising are at a preliminary stage, and there’s no certainty they will result in a transaction, one of the people said. A spokeswoman for Jet Airways said she couldn’t immediately comment.

Jet Airways sold a 24 percent stake to Etihad in 2013, becoming the first Indian carrier to receive investment from a foreign airline after the government eased rules. Founder Naresh Goyal owns 51 percent of Jet Airways, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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