Etihad, Hinduja Group back at the deal table for grounded Jet Airways

The names of Etihad Airways and Hinduja Group have resurfaced as contenders for submitting a joint expression of interest (EoI) to revive Jet Airways, which is facing insolvency proceedings. Even before Jet had landed up at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Etihad and Hindujas were in the fray to invest in the grounded airline but subsequently they opted out. 

A source in the know said the two sides were again holding discussions and examining funding requirements to pay off creditors and kick-start the airline, which shut operations on April 17.

Ashish Chhawchharia, the resolution professional handling the airline's insolvency, has invited EoIs by August 3. Bidders will be shortlisted by August 14. The timeline for submitting a resolution plan is yet to be disclosed.

Etihad and Hinduja Group did not respond to an email query. A consortium of airline employees and private equity firm Adi Partners had earlier announced their intention to bid for a 75 per cent stake in Jet.

Etihad had submitted a conditional offer for a minority stake in the airline earlier under the lenders-led bid process in May. 

It had sought 80 per cent write -off of the airline’s debt and waiver from open offer norms — conditions which were not accepted by lenders. Etihad had reached out to the Hinduja group in May but were unable to strike a deal.

The airline was referred to the bankruptcy court—NCLT— last month in the absence of a viable investment proposal. 

The resolution professional has received claims of over Rs 24,000 crore and has so far admitted claims of over Rs 8,400 crore from banks. The remainder is under verification.

Under the insolvency process, a potential acquirer will have to submit a resolution plan detailing loan repayment and restructuring proposals. The acquirer can also seek a reduction of share capital of the company such that promoter and other shareholding in the company can be extinguished. Thus, prospective owners would not be required to deal with either the founder Naresh Goyal or  joint venture partner Etihad. While Goyal had 51 per cent stake in Jet, Etihad held 24 per cent.

On Friday, the committee of creditors finalised the bid conditions for revival of Jet, dropping the aviation clause requirement. Bidders will need to have a net worth or assets under management of Rs 1,000 crore to participate in the bid.

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