Hinduja Group still interested in Jet Airways after approach by govt, banks; resolution professional invites fresh EoI for defunct airline

  • It is interested in the defunct airline "because government authorities approached us to help in survival of Jet. Even the banks approached us," said Gopichand P. Hinduja, co-chairman of the London-based group

  • Jet Airways’ resolution professional Ashish Chhawchharia on Sunday invited a second round of expressions of interest (EoI) from new parties

  • Synergy Group, Jet Airways' sole potential bidder, had sought more time to take a decision on investing in the grounded airline

The Hinduja group is still keen to bid for the grounded airline, Jet Airways. The London-based Group is interested in the defunct airline "because government authorities approached us to help in [the] survival of Jet. Even the banks approached us," said Gopichand P. Hinduja, co-chairman of the London-based group, according to a report in Mint. “With our good relations and contacts in the Middle East and Gulf, we took the initiative to support and help."

Earlier in June, the Hinduja Group had backed out of bidding for the Naresh Goyal-owned airline as they felt it was too risky for them to get involved due to the then ongoing government investigations and the insolvency pleas submitted by operational creditors at the NCLT, the Mint newspaper had said.

On Sunday, the Jet Airways’ resolution professional Ashish Chhawchharia invited a second round of expressions of interest (EoI) from new parties after the Committee of Creditors (CoC) voted in favour of calling fresh binding bids, according to a report in The Hindu. While the last date of the EoI will be 6 January, a provisional list of prospective resolution applicants will be declared on 9 January, the report said.

Meanwhile, NCLT on Friday approved extension of Jet Airways insolvency resolution period by 90 days, according to a PTI report.

 Hinduja Group still interested in Jet Airways after approach by govt, banks; resolution professional invites fresh EoI for defunct airline

Representational image. Reuters.

The Committee of Creditors (CoC) sought extension of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) of Jet Airways from the Mumbai bench of the NCLT in view of South America's Synergy Group wanting more time for due diligence and two new interests being shown for the grounded airline.

The tribunal, comprising Bhaskara Pantula Mohan and Rajesh Sharma, gave their approval for the extension of time as the 180 days deadline for CIRP period of the grounded airline had ended on December 16.

On Thursday, Synergy Group Jet Airways' sole potential bidder had sought more time to take a decision on investing in the grounded airline.

After being asked to expedite their decision, the representative of the Synergy Group had said the company wants to comply with the tribunal's directions, but it also has to ensure that it takes the right decision on behalf of its stakeholders.

"We understand the urgency of the matter. However, we will require a little bit more time to arrive at the conclusion that this is the right decision on behalf of the stakeholders," he added.

He said the company sees a good opportunity in Jet Airways, given some issues are resolved.

"Some of the criteria that needs to be resolved are that we are looking to float a new company free of all legacy liabilities of the erstwhile Jet Airways. We may want to look at partnering with an Indian partner. We also expect clarity on getting back Jet's airport slots, especially the domestic slots and seek further clarity on Heathrow, London, slots," the Synergy Group representative told the tribunal.

The NCLT on Thursday had also directed the CoC of Jet Airways to expedite their decision on seeking fresh expression of interest (EoIs) in view of new interest being shown for the grounded airline.

"We direct the committee of creditors to take a decision to float EoIs. We direct them to expedite the process," the tribunal said.

The resolution professional, Chawcharia, requested three weeks time to float the EoI.

The RP on 17 December had told the tribunal that until now two investors have shown interest in the airline.

After Jet Airways went bust in mid-April, the government temporarily allotted the hundreds of airport slots owned by it to other carriers, with an aim to contain soaring airfares in the peak holiday season.

The cash-strapped company became the first domestic airliner to go into bankruptcy after the Mumbai bench of the NCLT admitted an insolvency petition filed by State Bank of India (SBI) on behalf of 26 lenders on 20 June.

On 25 June, the resolution professional for Jet Airways invited claims from all creditors to the grounded airline.

The airline owes over Rs 8,500 crore to a consortium of 26 banks led by State Bank, and over Rs 13,000 crore to the tens of hundreds of vendors and around 23,000-odd employees.

Lenders to Jet Airways, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), are seeking investors in Jet to recover their dues. The airline’s total liability, including unpaid salaries and vendor dues, is nearly Rs 15,000 crore.

--With PTI inputs

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Updated Date: Dec 23, 2019 10:12:17 IST