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Ahead of Air India bid, Jet Airways hires Delta's M&A expert Piero Ceschia

Aneesh Phadnis/Mumbai 12 Mar 18 | 10:13 PM

Jet Airways has hired Piero Ceschia, a senior executive from Delta Airlines, known for his expertise in merger and acquisitions, ahead of a possible bid for Air India.

Ceschia who served as vice president (strategic alliances) in Delta joined Jet Airways last week. Previously he has worked in senior finance and corporate strategy roles in Air France-KLM and Alitalia.

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Ceschia's expertise is in areas of mergers and acquisitions, capital market transactions and restructuring of distressed assets, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has been involved in fundraising, stake sale negotiations, airline partnerships and business reorganisation in his stints at the two European airlines.

Jet Airways did not immediately respond to a query on the hiring and has called its interest in Air India as speculation. Air France-KLM offered no comments. Delta did not respond to the query.

On Sunday, Press Trust of India reported that Jet Airways, Air France-KLM and Delta will bid for Air India.

A source said there have been discussions between Jet Airways and it's partner airlines on  Air India's bid. But no decision has been taken and there is no certainty regarding the bid given different priorities of each airline.

While the enhanced co-operation between Jet Airways and Air France-KLM has enabled them to strengthen presence in India, Europe and transatlantic routes the focus of the airline managements' has also been on cost savings and debt reduction.

Air India's high debt and limited scope of synergies is another factor which will weigh the business decision.

Jet Airways which is co-owned by Etihad Airways had roped in JP Morgan last year to raise funds for expansion and debt reduction. It held exploratory talks with Delta for stake sale too.

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