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Jet boss foresees no merger problems

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Mar 24 (UNI) Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal today said all business plans of the company are on track and the uncertainty surrdounding its Rs 2,300-crore merger deal with Air Sahara has blown over.

''I foresee no problem now in the merger which will take place in a few months time,'' a visibly-relieved Goyal told journalists at his plush residence in the upscale Altamount Road here this evening after the two companies agreed to extend the deadline of March 24 by three months for completing the acquisition of Air Sahara.

A joint statement by Goyal and Sahara supremo Subrata Roy said the two had agreed to extend the term of the share purchase agreement by 90 days and the enterprise value of the deal remained the same, that is USD 500 million ( Rs 2,300 crore).

Till such time as the merger takes place for which court approval is mandatory, Jet will run Air Sahara as its 100 per cent subsidiary which will make available all of Air Sahara's parking slots, flight rights and other infrastructural facilities to the former, a cheerful Goyal said.

The subsidiary will be functional soon, Jet boss said, adding ''it could come into existence much before the expiry of the 90-day extension period.'' The decision follows a high-powered meeting between Jet and Sahara group officials yesterday in a Delhi hotel where all matters proving a hurdle to the merger were apparently thrashed out to the satisfaction of both parties.

This is evident from the fact that the deal ''remains unchanged'' as Goyal stoutly maintains, in all ways except for the extension in the deadline that would otherwise have expired today.

While the transaction amount of Rs 2,300-crore for the deal, the biggest in Indian aviation industry's history remains unchanged, Jet Airways, which has already given Rs 100-crore to Air Sahara in the last two months as working capital, will advance another Rs 500-crore to the latter against 100 per cent shares of Air Sahara which will be placed in lien with ICICI Bank.

''If the deal falls through for any reason, then we will get the Rs 500-crore back,'' Goyal said, adding that ''all decisions taken so far has always had the interests of our shareholders as their core.'' More UNI JJ SA SKB1952

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