By Anwesha Ganguly
The Hinduja Group said on Tuesday that it was evaluating a bid for the grounded Jet Airways. In fact, sources said that the Hindujas have constituted an internal team for doing due diligence and has sought access to the data room. “The Hinduja Group is evaluating the Jet Airways opportunity,” the group said in a statement.
The development saw the shares of Jet Airways jump as much as 17.09% in intra-day trade before closing at Rs 150.75, up 14.73% on the Bombay Stock Exchange. This probably would be the last hope for any revival of the grounded airline, as so far no serious bidder has shown interest in the airline. The only one to have evinced interest is Jet’s minority partner, Etihad, but it has put a string of conditions like limiting its stake to 24% and bringing in only Rs 1,700 crore. In such a scenario, a majority partner is very much required.
If the preliminary interest shown by the Hindujas does not move forward, then the lenders will have no option but to take the airline to the National Company Law Tribunal.
As is known, earlier during the month the State Bank of India-led consortium is reported to have approached the Hinduja Group for taking over Jet Airways. Reportedly the Hindujas have held some rounds of initial discussions with the lenders and Etihad Airways. They have also discussed the matter with Jet’s erstwhile promoter-chairman Naresh Goyal, who is understood to be agreeable to any such proposition.
Sources said that if at all the Hindujas take an in-principle decision to invest in Jet, they would be seeking a haircut from the lenders. “Whether we go ahead with the sale is certainly dependent on what we find at the due diligence stage, it is too early to say we are on board,” a source said.
Jet Airways temporarily halted operations on April 17 after lenders rejected its request to provide emergency funding. The civil aviation ministry has allotted a significant portion of the airline’s slots in major airports to other scheduled carriers. Matters complicated further for the airline with the series of resignations from the top management since May 13.