India’s Go First lenders to vote on liquidation amid lack of suitors -sources

By Siddhi Nayak

MUMBAI (Reuters) -Go First’s lenders will vote on a proposal to liquidate the insolvent Indian airline, two banking sources told Reuters on Thursday, days after a deadline to bid for the company ended with no suitors.

“The proposal whether or not to liquidate the airline has been floated and individual lenders will take the proposal to their boards and submit final votes in 10-15 days,” said a banker with a state-run bank that has exposure to Go First.

“It appears that there is no interest from suitors for the airline and bankers are inclined to opt for liquidation rather than restarting the insolvency process.”

The Committee of Creditors met on Wednesday and Thursday to decide the future course of action for the airline.

Neither of the bankers wished to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Go First’s resolution professional, who is conducting the insolvency process, did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

Go First, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May, owes a total of 65.21 billion rupees ($785.6 million) to its creditors.

Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Deutsche Bank are among the airline’s creditors.

Jindal Power, the sole company whose expression of interest to take over Go First was accepted by creditors, also decided to not follow through with a bid, Reuters reported.

“Liquidation is the only viable option before banks as legal troubles are deterring suitors,” said the second banker.

“Since there is (land) collateral backing the loan, it is better to opt for liquidation rather than spending more money on the insolvency process.”

Go First is also locked in a legal tussle with its lessors after a moratorium imposed by Indian courts blocked them from repossessing planes.

A recent amendment to India’s insolvency rules allows lessors to take back the planes, but a court has yet to determine whether this change can be applied retrospectively to Go First.

(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak; Editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan)