Joint bid for Jet Airways innovative but complicated: Experts

NEW DELHI: With conventional solutions remaining elusive for the grounded Jet Airways, industry experts see a joint bid for the airline by strategic and financial investors as a viable option wherein risks can also be hedged.

“There are cases where management buy-outs are happening. The employees are coming together to bid for the revival of the company. There is no harm in being innovative. Like-minded people can come together and bid,” said a Mumbai-based investment banker.

He cited the case of insolvent power transmission firm Jyoti Structures in which a couple of dozens of investors came together to buy the company.

Jet Airways remains grounded for over a month now and the attempt made by its lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) to bring an investor on board has failed.

“The idea (of two or three like-minded investors coming together) is good. Now that the Hinduja Group has shown interest in the airline, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. It will also pave way for the business conglomerate to enter into the aviation space in India,” said Rajan Mehra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Club One Air and former India head of Qatar Airways.

In response to the lenders’ call for stake sale in the airline, only Etihad Airways submitted a bid. The other three investors — private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), which had qualified in the expression of interest (EoI), did not submit any financial proposal.

There were also two unsolicited bids from foreign investors. The Hinduja Group on Tuesday said that it was exploring options to buy a stake in the crisis-hit airline.

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“Hinduja Group is evaluating the Jet Airways opportunity,” a spokesperson had said.

While the idea of interested parties coming together and submitting a joint bid appears to be a solution, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a large private firm said that it would be a complicated exercise.

As per industry estimates, the debt-laden Jet Airways requires funds worth Rs 15,000 crore but none of the investors have so far showed commitment to infuse substantial funds. The sole bidder Etihad, which holds 24 per cent stake in the airline, has proposed to invest only Rs 1,700 crore.


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