Hinduja group confirms evaluating options for Jet Airways stake

Jet Airways
The Hinduja Group is evaluating options to pick up a stake in crisis-ridden Jet Airways, said Dheeraj G Hinduja, chairman of commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland, which is part of the business conglomerate.

Hinduja's confirmation comes after reports that the group is in talks with various stakeholders, including Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. Media reports this week said that the group was interested in investing around Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1500 crore in the airline.

Hinduja, while announcing Ashok Leyland's financial results in Chennai, said it is premature to talk anything more about Jet Airways. 

The Hinduja Group has business in 10 sectors, including, oil and chemicals, banking and finance, power, spread in 38 countries. 

However, negotiations between Hinduja Group and Etihad Airways was reportedly going slow. Officials of Hinduja Group met Etihad executives’ on Thursday at the Etihad headquarters in Abu Dhabi to discuss the deal. Top executives of State Bank of India (SBI), which leads the lenders’ consortium, were also present at the meeting in Abu Dhabi, the corporate headquarters of Etihad.

Jet, once the biggest private airline in India, owes vast sums to its lessors, employees, fuel suppliers and other parties. It stopped all flights from April 17 after lenders refused to give it any more funds to keep flying.

The total investment required by Jet Airways to restart operations is around Rs 5,950 crore. Etihad, in its offer, said it would be able to invest only Rs 1,700 crore and acquire 24 per cent stake, said reports.