13 March 2019: Naresh Goyal may soon lose his controlling stake in Jet Airways but is pushing for a deal that would allow him to make a comeback in the future.
According to sources, while Goyal’s stake in the airline will come down to 17 per cent, he wants lenders and joint venture partner Etihad to leave the door open for him to buy back shares. “The draft agreement between all parties has put a cap of 22 per cent on promoter stake. Goyal wants the cap removed so that he can claw his way back once the financial crisis blows over,” said a source close to the development. The draft agreement also has a non-compete clause which means Goyal will not be able to invest in any other airline or start a new venture in the same space for three years.
Santsh Hiredesai, Research Analyst with SBI Small Caps, said: “If there is a cap of 22 per cent on the promoter shareholding, he will never be able to invest in the company to own a controlling stake.”
Dhiraj Mathur, partner and leader National Aerospace and Defence Practice at PWC, said, “It is understandable for someone who has built a company to not want his stake to be perpetually below 22 per cent but what’s also needed to be understood is that there are other lenders, and partner airline who might want to protect their stake in the company as well and, thus, the cap has been suggested.”
Nicolas Dumoulin, Managing Director of career advisory firm Michael Page, said globally it is common for companies under stress to change the promoter. “Apple is one such company where the founder was asked to leave. It’s pretty common in companies where external funding comes in, the shareholders then start to look at the profit of the company and not the promoter. The moment the company is not in the best shape it makes it difficult for the existing promoter to stay on.”
But will a comeback by Goyal be good for Jet Airways? Jobs’ return certainly helped Apple.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways has grounded five more aircraft on account of non-payment of dues to lenders.
According to Jet Airways’ website, the airline has 119 aircraft, BusinessLine had reported that over 40 per cent of its fleet was not operating. This is the fifth time in a month the airline has grounded flights.