Founder of India’s beleaguered Jet Airways quits

Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal has stepped down as chairman and left the company board. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Founder of India’s beleaguered Jet Airways quits

  • Naresh Goyal leaves carrier as part of a rescue plan agreed with its lenders
  • Jet Airways has debts of more than $1 billion

NEW DELHI: Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal will step down from the board and reduce his stake in the cash-strapped Indian carrier, the company said on Monday as it closes in on a rescue deal led by state-run banks.

The banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), will convert their debt into equity and take a controlling stake in the airline for a token sum of 1 rupee ($0.0145), Jet said in a statement to the stock exchanges after its board met earlier on Monday.

The banks will also give the airline a fresh loan of $217.71 million (15 billion rupees) to meet payments and restore normal operations and the lenders will form an interim management committee to manage the airline, Jet said.

Saddled with debt of more than $1 billion, Jet owes money to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors — several of whom have started terminating leases with the carrier.

The government has asked state-run banks, led by SBI, to rescue Jet without pushing it into bankruptcy, two people within the Indian government have told Reuters, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election.

In its statement, Jet said the banks will initiate a bidding process to sell their stake in the airline to a new investor and that the process is expected to be complete by end-June.

Reports of Goyal’s departure led to a rally in Jet’s shares, which ended the day 12.4 percent higher.


Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

Updated 17 June 2019
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Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

CAIRO: Egypt says it has struck a deal with the state-owned Israel Electric Corp. to settle a fine for halting deliveries of natural gas.
A statement from Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry said the settlement deal, which was signed Sunday, would reduce the $1.7 billion fine to $500 million.
It says Egypt will pay the amount over eight and a half years.
In return, the Israeli company would drop other claims resulting from a 2015 arbitration decision.
Israel Electric had sued the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas after a 2005 deal to export natural gas to Israel collapsed in 2012 amid militant attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt has been battling insurgency for years.
Israel relied on the pipeline to meet its energy needs.