Lesser known firms line up to board Jet

Last Updated: Thu, May 09, 2019 15:46 hrs
Jet Airways (AP photo)

New Delhi: While a clutch of investors and lesser-known entrepreneurs on Wednesday claimed to have sent their bids for the grounded Jet Airways, industry insiders say they could be either non-serious players or acting as front for others.

"Either they have bid for the sake of bidding or could be front for somebody else. Some may later on declare that so and so firm or person is their partner," said an airline executive closely monitoring the bidding process.

Commenting on the development, Club One Air Chief Executive and former India head of Qatar Airways Rajan Mehra said he cannot reject the bids as non-serious.

"I don't agree with the frivolous part. I would not comment on the bidders acting as front for someone but, yes, it is a possibility," Mehra said.

British entrepreneur Jason Unsworth, who had earlier evinced interest in buying a stake in Jet Airways, is learnt to have sent his bid.

Unsworth is chief of start-up Atmosphere Airlines which is yet to start operations.

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

Future Trend and Adi Partners had earlier teamed up with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal to submit EoI for the carrier.

Asked for his comment on the bids by some of the unknown individuals and firms, Dhiraj Mathur, Partner, PwC, said: "I won't say that firms reported to have submitted their bids for Jet Airways are non-serious or frivolous. All I am saying is that the bidding criteria is very clear that those who have responded to the EoI would be allowed to submit their proposals.

"The next course of action would be taken by lenders only after the current process is complete," Mathur added.

Lenders of Jet Airways led by SBI are currently in the process of selling the airline to recover their dues of over Rs 8,400 crore. The last date for submitting the bids is May 10.

Private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad Airways had been shortlisted to submit their bids after they gave their EoIs.