February 21, 2019 / 3:41 AM / 3 months ago

TIMELINE-India's debt-laden Jet Airways edges closer to safety

(Adds details)

Feb 21 (Reuters) - India's Jet Airways Ltd, after several attempts at finding help to save the carrier from a crippling pile of debt, last week approved a rescue deal which will make its lenders its largest shareholders and fix a near 85 billion rupee funding gap.

Jet, which had debt exceeding 80 billion rupees ($1.12 billion) as of September-end, has been steadily losing market share to its rival and low-cost carrier IndiGo, which is owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.

The airline has also seen its share price suffer as it navigated through several negotiations with its lenders and shareholders.

For an interactive graphic on the airline's market value, click tmsnrt.rs/2V2ef8x

Jet will take the resolution plan to its shareholders later in the day where it will seek their approval to convert debt into 114 million shares.

Here are some major developments in Jet's story:

Aug 3 – Jet denies report that it cannot fly beyond 60 days, and dismisses conjecture of stake sale Aug 9 – Airline defers board meet for first-quarter results Aug 11 – After State Bank of India chairman says Jet's loan is on the bank's watch list, Jet says it is regular in payment obligations to all banks Aug 20 - Sources tell Reuters that private equity firm TPG Capital is considering investing in Jet, but is not close to finalising a deal Aug 27 – Jet posts loss for the June-quarter, says it will inject funds and cut costs by more than 20 billion rupees in two years Sept 6 – Jet says it paid salaries to 84 percent of its employees after reports emerge that pilots warned 'non-cooperation' over salary default Oct 4 – Rating agency ICRA downgrades here the company's long term loans and NCDs Oct 18 – Report says Indian conglomerate Tata Group is in talks to buy stake in Jet. Jet calls report "speculative" Oct 30 - U.S.-based Delta Air Lines Inc expresses interest to buy Jet stake from promoter Naresh Goyal and Etihad Airways Nov 5 – Report says Tata aims to buy the 51 percent stake in the airline owned by Naresh Goyal, and Etihad Airways' 24 percent stake, and merge Jet with Vistara Nov 12 – Jet posts third straight quarterly loss Nov 13 – Tata Sons begins due diligence to buy Jet, reports say Nov 15 – Shares surge nearly 25 percent following reports that the debt-laden airline was nearing a rescue deal with Tata Sons; another report says the Indian government asked Tata to explore buying Jet Nov 16 – Tata Sons says discussions on Jet is preliminary and no proposal has been made Nov 22 - Independent director Ranjan Mathai resigns, citing rising pressure from other commitments Dec 3 - Jet says it will stop providing free meals to most domestic economy class passengers from January Dec 5 - Jet and Etihad Airways have been holding rescue talks with Jet's bankers, sources tell Reuters Dec 6 - Jet tells its pilot union it will clear all salary dues by April, a source tells Reuters Dec 7 - ICRA cuts here Jet rating yet again Dec 14 - Goyal's penchant for control has come up as a major obstacle as the airline tries to negotiate a rescue deal, several people who have worked closely with him or known him over the years tell Reuters Jan 2, 2019 - The airline says it has delayed payment to a consortium of Indian banks, led by SBI; ICRA cuts rating again Jan 10 - Jet proposes to creditors that it will catch up with debt payments in arrears by September, and from April will meet debt payments as they come due, according to a document seen by Reuters Jan 11 - Some aircraft lessors were prompted to explore taking back aircraft from Jet, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Etihad is not "in any position to sink new equity into Jet at this juncture", says a person familiar with Etihad's position. Jan 14 - Report states Goyal is likely to step down from the board and give up majority control Jan 16 - TV channel reports that Etihad offered to buy Jet shares at a 49 percent discount and immediately release $35 million. Jan 17 - Top creditor SBI says Jet's lenders are considering a plan to resolve its debt issues, amid further reports that Goyal is willing to invest 7 billion rupees in the airline and pledge all his shares but wants to retain a 25 percent stake. Jan 24 - India capital markets regulator says it has no "view" on relaxing norms for a Jet bailout Jan 25 - Etihad appoints Alvarez & Marsal to conduct due diligence on Jet, sources tell Reuters Jan 30 - Jet denies its aircraft had been grounded by GE Capital Aviation Services Feb 1 - Jet agrees to most conditions set by Etihad Airways for a lifeline, a report says Feb 8 - Airline grounds four aircraft after failing to make payments to lessors Feb 14 - Jet's board approves a rescue deal which will make its lenders its largest shareholders and fix a near 85 billion rupee funding gap Feb 15 - Jet is seeking an $840 million bailout from shareholders and a state-backed fund, Business Television India reports

Compiled by Arnab Paul and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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