Hinduja Group is preparing a bid to buy Jet Airways, say sources

Bloomberg Mumbai | Updated on December 31, 2019 Published on December 31, 2019

The Hinduja Group is preparing a bid to buy grounded carrier Jet Airways India Ltd, according to people familiar with the matter.

The UK-based group, run by brothers Gopichand Hinduja and Ashok Hinduja, plans to submit an expression of interest by the January 15 deadline, signalling its intent to make a formal offer, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. “Hinduja is seeking a partner to bid,” one of the people said.

Creditors are seeking fresh bids for Jet Airways after earlier getting interest from only a single company, Synergy Group Corp.

Also read: Jet Air: Synergy Group sets riders for investment

The Mumbai-based airline, which was once India’s largest by market value, fell victim to a cut-throat price war initiated by a slew of budget carriers and eventually defaulted to banks, staff and lessors. State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank have claimed ₹8,230 crore ($1.2 billion), while other creditors, like employees and lessors, are seeking ₹6,400 crore from the airline, which is 24 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways PJSC.

Hinduja Group had earlier this year considered bidding for Jet Airways in partnership with Etihad, but Etihad jettisoned the proposal, and Jet Airways was tipped into bankruptcy.

Shares of Jet Airways have plunged 90 per cent this year, giving it a market value of about ₹310 crore ($43 million). Shares of Jet Airways jumped as much as 6.9 per cent in early Tuesday trading in Mumbai.

Deliberations are at early stage, and Hinduja Group may decide against bidding, or other bidders may emerge, the people said. The Hinduja Group did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

While preparing a bid, the Hinduja Group will grapple with the complexities that have sapped Jet Airway’s value, including lapsed landing rights at Heathrow airport, and the validity of the carrier’s now defunct flying slots.

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Published on December 31, 2019
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