March 21, 2019 / 7:11 AM / 5 months ago

India state banks want Jet Airways' Goyal to reduce stake to 10 percent: CNBC-TV18

FILE PHOTO: Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, India, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A group of Indian state-run banks want Jet Airways’ embattled founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal to reduce his stake in the carrier to 10 percent, news channel CNBC-TV18 reported on Thursday, quoting sources.

“Banks want Goyal to bring his stake down to 10 percent, below the 17 percent envisaged in the bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP),” sources told CNBC-TV18.

The state-run banks are also pushing Goyal to step down, CNBC-TV18 added.

Jet has more than $1 billion in debt, and owes money to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors - some of whom have started terminating leases with the carrier.

The government has asked state-run banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), to rescue Jet without pushing it into bankruptcy, two people within the administration have told Reuters, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election.

Several people who have worked closely with Goyal, 69, have told Reuters that his penchant for control has emerged as a major obstacle in negotiating a rescue deal.

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar had said on Wednesday that a resolution plan was “almost” ready and that it would not involve a bailout for any individual, including Goyal.

Jet and SBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday, which is a public holiday in India.

Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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