NEW DELHI: After its first unsuccessful attempt to revive the grounded Jet Airways, the SBI-led lenders’ consortium has started reaching out to unsolicited bidders to infuse equity in the airline.
The banks, after meeting top officials at AdiGro Aviation, a subsidiary of London-based AdiGroup, also held a meeting with Mumbai-based Darwin Group, which has reportedly offered `14,000 crore to acquire the grounded airline.
Darwin Group CEO Rahul Ganpule said they had participated in the Expression of Interest (EoI) and also submitted its financial bid on May 8. “SBI Caps had called us. We wanted to understand the liability and assets of Jet Airways,” he said.
Ganpule added that the group had done due diligence before submitting the financial bid, but wanted some more details that were not publicly available.
He said the `14,000 crore offer made by the group is to take over the entire liabilities of Jet. It is estimated that Jet Airways needs in excess of `15,000 crore to be operational again.
Ganpule also requested SBI Caps to provide his firm with all the liability-related data. “The solicited bidders have been given access to actual information, but unsolicited bidders do not have (any),” Ganpule said, adding that access to data will only be given after a decision from the consortium of lenders.
Last week, the lenders said they have received bids from Etihad Airways and from a few unsolicited parties. Etihad, which was the only shortlisted bidder to put in a proposal on May 10, has committed to invest `1,700 crore in return for a minority stake in Jet. The offer that came with several conditions is said to have “disappointed” the lenders, who have now hurried the process to find a new investor.
Separately, lenders are also said to have approached Britain’s wealthiest persons, the Hinduja Brothers.
Jet Airways stocks on Wednesday fell by 5.31 per cent to `122.05 a share after reports emerged on Tuesday that its top four executives have quit.
Jet Airways had grounded operations on April 17, owing to severe financial crunch. With every passing day, chances of a revival is getting bleak as most its slots at major airports have been allocated to rival airlines and the fleet size has shrunken drastically.
What does Darwin Group do?
According to information available on the group’s website, Darwin Platform Group of Companies has business across multiple sectors that include mass media, pharma, airline, refinery, shipping and more. The group notes that Darwin Platform Airlines Ltd operate in India’s domestic air travel market as a low-cost carrier. “We operate flights connecting to domestic and international through our associates and have started selling tickets to four additional destinations including 1 international destination,” it says. Ajay Harinath Singh, who belongs to a “very influential political and landlord family” of Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, is the chairman of the group and president of the Singh & Sons Holdings PLC, a family business entity, according to the website.