Unsolicited bidders reach out to Etihad to partner in Jet Airways turnaround

New Delhi, May 13: Unsolicited bidders of Jet Airways have reached out to Etihad Airways, which was the only shortlisted bidder to submit its bid for the Indian airline last week.
Lakshay Uttam, who is part of the consortium that also includes British entrepreneur Jason Unsworth, has reached out to Etihad eliciting interest to partner with the airline. He has also written to Rajnish Kumar, Chairman of State Bank of India, the lead lender of Jet Airways.
AdiGro Aviation, part of the AdiGroup, had said it has already met officials of Etihad to partner with the airline in its bid for Jet Airways.
The interest from these unsolicited bidders will help both Etihad and Jet Airways’ lenders as the Abu Dhabi-based airline has made it clear that it will remain a minority shareholder in the cash-strapped airline. Reports suggest that Etihad has offered to invest just Rs 1,700 crore in Jet Airways.
That is just a fraction of the total investment that is needed to revive Jet Airways. The airline, which suspended operations on April 17 for want of funds, owes banks over Rs 8,000 crore and has total liabilities of thousands of crores more.
Each of the unsolicited bidders has claimed to have the backing of investors.
Separately, a group of Jet Airways’ employees had also come forward to take control of the airline and promised to invest Rs 7,000 crore.
While SBI Caps, which is overseeing the process, had said it will consider unsolicited bids only after the formal bidding is over, it may need to take a relook now that Etihad’s proposal is not enough to revive Jet Airways.
Getting in touch
In his mail to the SBI Chairman, Uttam said that he has reached out to Etihad’s senior officials. “We are looking forward to work in collaboration with Etihad for a solution to the Jet Airways’ crisis,” he stated.
Earlier, AdiGro Aviation founder Sanjay Viswanathan had said that he has reached out to Etihad for a possible partnership to turnaround Jet Airways. Etihad owns 24 percent stake in the cash strapped airline.
“We are very keen to work with Etihad. It’s a key partner for the airline. If Etihad wants to continue with Jet Airways, we would love to partner with them,” said Viswanathan, who has met with senior officials at the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
The unsolicited bidders will now have to wait to hear from SBI Caps and Etihad. SBI Caps and other lenders are expected to examine Etihad’s proposal this week.

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