AdiGro Aviation, part of the London-based AdiGroup, is set to bid for distressed airline Jet Airways on May 10, the last day for bidding. Group founder Sanjay Viswanathan said he has the backing of key investors.
"We are certainly putting in a bid," Viswanathan told Moneycontrol over the telephone from London.
Viswanathan is also Managing Partner of Adi Partners, which is part of AdiGroup, a global management and investment advisory firm. This will be the first investment in aviation for the group, which also has interests in technology and fintech.
The bid will come as a respite to Jet Airways stakeholders, amid increasing doubts if the airline will attract any investors after its key assets were given away to peers.
However, Viswanathan clarified that the firm hasn't aligned with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, or with the group of investors, including British entrepreneur Jason Unsworth, who are also interested in the airline.
Earlier, Unsworth had claimed that Adi Partners was part of a consortium that included him and investment firms such as Future Trends Capital and Redcliffe Capital. Reports had also linked Adi Partners with Goyal.
"We are on our own and have strong investors. We are not in any pact with Goyal or Unsworth. We are not aligned with them. We don’t know them and we are not in touch with them. We have clarified this to SBI Caps," said the Chairman and Managing Partner of AdiGroup.
SBI Caps is overseeing the bidding process. Other possible bidders include Etihad Airways, TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
Reaching outViswanathan, who held senior positions at Infosys, Sonata Software and GE/Genpact before founding AdiGroup, said the company has reached out to Etihad Airways 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 to re-engineer Jet Airways," said Viswanathan, who has met with senior officials at the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
He also had high praise for Cramer Ball, the former CEO of Jet Airways, who has been spearheading Etihad's bid for the Indian airline. "Cramer has been a high-impact leader and we have only heard terrific things about him. We would love to have him on the board of Jet Airways," Viswanathan stated.