Just two days before the deadline for putting in bids, Jet Airways has got its first proposal from an unlikely group of investors.
The group includes two little known entrepreneurs: a British, an NRI, and investment firms Future Trend Capital Investments, Redcliffe Capital and Adi Partners.
Future Trend and Adi Partners earlier teamed up with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal to submit an expression of interest for the airline. Redcliffe Capital submitted the EoI along with Think Capital.
But, none of those was shortlisted to put in a bid.
"We submitted the bid last night," said Jason Unsworth, the founder of airline startup Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines. The British entrepreneur earlier wrote to Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube, offering to take over the troubled airline.
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He is joined by Lakshay Uttam, the founder of My World Ventures - an Amsterdam-based firm with interests in hospitality and aviation.
"We have also been in touch with Naresh Goyal. He will be an invaluable asset to have," added Uttam.
But later in the day, Goyal's daughter Namrata Goyal took on to Twitter to clarify that her father was not part of the consortium. Reacting to a tweet by Unsworth who said the former Chairman was part of the group's proposal, Namrata said "this information is completely misleading and mischievous."
Nevertheless, interest of these investors, coming at a time when there are worries that none of the shortlisted may put in a bid, will be a relief for Jet Airways' employees. But, it remains to be seen if SBI Caps, which is overseeing the bidding process, will accept the bid as none of the investors was shortlisted.
The shortlisted bidders are Etihad Airways, TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and the NIIF.
May 10 is the deadline to submit bids for Jet Airways.
Availability of funds
Jet Airways has debts of over Rs 8,000 crore, and its liabilities - including arrears to lessors, vendors and employees - may total close to Rs 20,000 crore.
This means that any bidder will have to come with deep pockets. And it doesn't help that must of Jet Airways assets - airport slots, human resource and aircraft - have been taken and are in the process of being distributed to its peers.
The two factors thus make Jet Airways, which suspended operations on April 17, less of an attractive target.
But both Unsworth and Uttam reiterate that they have got commitment for funds. "We will have significantly good funds to revive the airline and for operations. We have to look into first the debt settlement," said Uttam, whose company is setting up hotels in South East Asia.
"I'm also involved with a new airline in Africa," he added. But Uttam declined to give further details.
Despite not being shortlisted, their bid may be considered by SBI Caps after the conclusion of the bidding process. Earlier, a group of Jet Airways employees had approached with a proposal to take over the airline. They had met SBI Caps, which told them that lenders may consider any other proposals,after conclusion of bidding, and if the said process does not provide a satisfactory solution.