Etihad interested in re-investing in India's Jet subject to conditions

Jet Airways Adi Gro Aviation part of the London-based Adi Partners submitted a binding bid to buy a stake in the grounded Jet Airways. The last date for submitting the bids is May 10. The lenders led by SBI are likely to decide the winning bidder for Je

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Friday was the last day to submit financial bids by the qualified bidders.

Moments before the window for submitting binding bids closed, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways gave its "conditional" bid for the grounded Jet Airways emphasising that it can not be the sole investor. "However, if no binding bids are received, then the unsolicited bids might be scrutinised".

"It is unlikely, as these three are solicited bidders, whom the SBI had shortlisted earlier and who were given bid documents. Details of the bids are not known", said an official. Etihad Airways is interested in re-investing in embattled Indian carrier Jet Airways for a minority stake, subject to certain conditions, a spokesman for the Middle Eastern carrier said on Friday.

"Etihad re-emphasises that it can not be expected to be the sole investor, and that, amongst other requirements, additional suitable investors would need to provide the majority of Jet Airways' required recapitalisation", it said.

A Jet Airways employee holds up a placard during a protest demanding to "save Jet Airways" at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India, May 8, 2019.

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A 24 per cent stake holder in the crisis-hit airline, Etihad, in an official statement, said that it had been working with various stakeholders for the past 15 months to find a solution to make Jet Airways viable and competitive. Currently, the airline owes over Rs 8,000 crore to its lenders.

Investment firms Future Trend Capital Investments, Redcliffe Capital and Adi Partners besides an NRI are also learned to have placed their bids.

Naresh Goyal is the founder of Jet Airways. In a letter to State Bank of India last month, the group said they would model their efforts on employee-led turnarounds like that of United Airlines in 1994. Adi Partners had submitted an Expression of Interest in April, but this was disqualified. The report is to be submitted by May 11.

Any investors in the debt-ravaged Jet Airways must weigh the sector's growth prospects against India's high jet-fuel prices and a crushing fare war worsened by the entry of no-frills carriers. SBI Capital Markets Ltd, which is advising Jet Airways's lenders, has received at least three unsolicited approaches, one of the people said.

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