UAE firm to bid for India's Jet Airways, hopes to conclude deal by July-end

Four companies have been shortlisted to bid

  
A Jet Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircarft is seen parked inside a hanger during its induction ceremony at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, June 28, 2018. Picture taken June 28, 2018. Image for illustrative purposes.

A Jet Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircarft is seen parked inside a hanger during its induction ceremony at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, June 28, 2018. Picture taken June 28, 2018. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Abhirup Roy

The UAE-based Imperial Capital Investments LLC has been shortlisted to bid for India's once troubled carrier Jet Airways and will submit documents around mid-July, a senior official said on Sunday.

"We will submit our final documents by mid of July. But it may take a couple of days more because of the extension of the pandemic lockdown in India. Hence, there could be difficulty in traveling and we need some key people from our side to travel inside as well as to India to conclude the final documents," said Biraja Jena, chairman of Imperial Capital Investments.

Currently, four companies have been shortlisted to bid for Jet Airways.

Imperial Capital is bidding along with its partners Flight Simulation Technique Centre Pvt Ltd, Big Charter Pvt. Ltd along with the other short listed consortium which include UK's Kalrock Capital Partners, Canada-based entrepreneur Sivakumar Rasiah and Kolkata's Alpha Airways.

A number of companies - including the UK-based Hinduja Group - had submitted bids for the grounded airline but were rejected by the creditors. The cash-strapped airline stopped all operations indefinitely in April 2018 after a consortium led by government-owned State Bank of India declined to extend more funds to keep it afloat.

Confident of winning bid

Confident of winning the bid, Jena hopes to conclude the deal by July end and aims to keep majority stake in the carrier.

"Because it is not only good for us but for the airline and employees, crew which is sitting idle for two years now. Plus, we have a definite intention, strategy, business plan and experience to run the airline. We better understand the industry as well," he added.

"Managing and running the airline is a highly-specialized job. So, we are better placed because we have a local partner company in India who is manned by ex-pilots. They run aircraft simulators used for pilot training and has been running successfully for the last 10 years. Therefore, we can synergize well," he said.

Imperial Capital Investments has appointed global audit and advisory firm Deloitte to study and create the final business model while law firm Luthra and Luthra is looking into the legal aspects.

"We need to understand aircraft, their valuation, flight routes, landing rights, airports rights, legal liabilities of employees because there were 4,000 workers when the airline went down," Jena told Khaleej Times in an interview on Sunday.

The bidders will submit their final reports to the Committee of Creditors, which have been given access to the collapsed carrier's financial and other data.

"We are also putting a lot of effort to figure out what is the best for the airline. At a time when the airlines are under threat due to the pandemic, we want to exploit this opportunity of the (low cost of) landing rights, flight rules, experienced crew to run the airline on an optimum cost plus marginal profit basis. Moreover, we are also exploring cargo activities because now all the airlines which are making money during pandemic is because of cargo freight. We are working on all the fronts. We will be ready in 10 days with this business plan," added Jena.

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