UK-based Hinduja Group eyeing to buy Jet Airways

The U.K.-based Hinduja Group is preparing a bid for the grounded carrier Jet Airways India Ltd., informed people familiar to the matter.

The Hinduja brothers, Gopichand Hinduja and Ashok Hinduja, who run the company are planning to submit an expression of interest by 15 Jan, signalling its intent to make a formal offer, sources revealed under the condition of anonymity.

One of the sources said, “Hinduja Group is seeking a partner to bid.” In an early Tuesday trading in Mumbai, Jet airways share spring up to 6.9%.

The grounded carrier this year saw a plunge of 90% in its stock, giving it a market value of about 3.3 billion rupees.

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

The Mumbai-based airline, whose 24% shares are owned by Abu Dhabi’s Eithad Airways PJSC once had the largest market value in the country.

However, the airline fell victim to a price war initiated by a slew of budget carriers and eventually defaulted to banks, staff and lessors are seeking 64 billion rupees from the airline.

Earlier, this year the Hinduja Group considered joining hands with Etihad for the bidding of the Mumbai-based airlines, but Etihad jettisoned the proposal which tipped the carrier into bankruptcy.

“The group was open to buying Jet Airways if indemnified from the airline’s legal liabilities,” Gopichand Hinduja told the Mint newspaper this month.

Deliberations are at early stage and Hinduja Group may decide against bidding, or other bidders may emerge, the people said.

 While preparing a bid, the Hinduja Group will scuffle with the challenges that have eroded Jet’s value like lapsed landing rights at Heathrow airport, and the validity of the carrier’s now-defunct flying slots.

Source: Bloomberg

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