India’s Go First airline gets expression of interest from Jindal Power – sources

By Siddhi Nayak

MUMBAI (Reuters) -Grounded Indian airline Go First has received an expression of interest (EoI) from Jindal Power Ltd, two banking sources and two people aware of the development told Reuters.

An EoI is the first step in the bidding process and may not result in a financial bid.

“Jindal Power was the sole successful applicant whose expression of interest was accepted by banks,” said a banker with a state-run bank that has exposure to Go First.

The power generation company “will be conducting proper due diligence and post which it could submit a formal bid”, said the banker, who did not wish to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Go First’s resolution professional, who conducts the insolvency process, and Jindal Power did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The last day to submit EoIs was Sept. 28, the banker said, and a committee of lenders met to assess the applications after that.

Two other foreign entities had also submitted EoIs to bid for Go First, but their applications were rejected for failing to meet the criteria set by lenders, another banker said.

The Go First bankruptcy filing lists Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Deutsche Bank among its creditors to whom the carrier owes a total of 65.21 billion rupees ($784.60 million).

Aircraft lessors of Go First are locked in a legal tussle with the company after they were blocked from repossessing planes due to a moratorium imposed by Indian courts.

However, the government amended its insolvency law earlier this month to exclude leased aircraft from assets that can be frozen, to bring India’s bankruptcy laws into line with a treaty protecting the rights of foreign lessors.

It is unclear whether the amended law would apply to Go First since its insolvency proceedings are still underway.

($1 = 83.1120 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak in Mumbai, additional reporting by Sarita Chaganti Singh in New Delhi; Editing by Devika Syamnath)