By James Mathew
Aviation industry sources said Hinduja Group and a Dubai fund explored options to bid for the Indian carrier but opted out at the last minute
Grounded Indian airline Jet Airways received just one more expression of interest (EoI) from a prospective bidder – Delhi-based Prudent ARC (Asset Reconstruction Company) - by the end of the deadline on Wednesday, dimming the prospects of a revival for the beleaguered carrier.
South America-based Synergy Group had filed the EoI for Jet Airways on January 6, taking the number of prospective bidders in the fray for Jet Airways to two.
Ashish Chhawchharia, the resolution professional appointed for the debt-strapped airline, informed the Mumbai bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) during a hearing on Wednesday that Jet Airways has received two EoIs.
The next date of hearing on the Jet Airways resolution case at the NCLT is February 15.
London-based Indian business group Hinduja Group and a Dubai-based investment fund were also said to be looking to bid for Jet Airways.
Aviation industry sources said both the Hinduja Group and the Dubai fund have decided against submitting the EoI, as they found no value in the airline after their preliminary assessment of the airline’s fundamentals.
This is the second time that the State Bank of India (SBI)-led lenders’ consortium to Jet called for EoIs.
The first round of bidding did not result in any resolution plan for the revival of the airline, as the Synergy Group – the lone bidder – failed to submit a concrete bidding and revival plan, despite being given ample time by extending the deadline time and again.
Representatives of the Synergy Group had informed the NCLT that they wanted clarity on the flying rights and airport slots of Jet Airways before taking a final decision on bidding for the airline.
Industry analysts are sceptical of the Synergy Group’s bid this time around also, as the company is yet to form an alliance with an Indian entity to bid for Jet Airways.
Under India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy, foreign airlines or investors can hold only up to 49 percent stake in an airline venture and the management of the airline has to be vested with Indians.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways. Jet Airways shut its operations in April last year, after it ran out of funds to carry on daily operations.