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Govt clears Jet-Sahara deal: sources

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 30 (UNI) The controversial plan of Jet Airways to acquire its smaller rival Air Sahara got a boost today with the government's aircraft acquisition committee clearing transfer of assets.

It is the biggest merger deal in Indian civil aviation history.

The committee operating under the civil aviation ministry is responsible for approving imports of all aircraft into the country.

It has approved transfer of Air Sahara's property -- aircraft, routes and parking bays -- to Jet Airways, highly placed sources said. A formal announcement is expected next week.

The panel has, however, put a rider saying Jet cannot sell or lease Sahara assets to anyone else.

The move has been done according to best international practices, sources said, emphasising that no formal request of the merger deal was received either from Jet or Sahara.

The decision will apply to other deals of such nature, sources said.

Last week, Jet and Sahara had extended the term of their share-purchase agreement by 90 days amid doubts over possible merger of the two airliners. The enterprise value of the deal remains the same at Rs 2,300 crore.

Till such time as the merger takes place for which court approval is also 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.

There has been much speculation that there was price re-negotiation between Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and Air Sahara's chief Subrato Roy over the enterprise value. It now transpires that all that was rubbish.

Jet Airways has already got the requisite clearance from the ministry of company affairs for buying out the other airline.

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