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Hinduja, Synergy, Dubai fund may bid for Jet Airways

London-based Hinduja Group, South America’s Synergy Group and a Dubai-based fund are the three potential bidders for bankrupt Jet Airways (India) Ltd, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Lenders to Jet Airways, who have repeatedly extended the deadline to submit expressions of interest, are unwilling to give any more time and have set a final deadline of January15, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity. None of the three entities have submitted EoIs, they said, adding that if the bids are not received by the deadline, proceedings for liquidation will begin.

The Hinduja group has a presence in automobiles, financial services, and oil and gas, while the Synergy Group, controlled by 69 year old Bolivia born billionaire GermánEfromovich, is engaged in aviation, energy and telecom.The identity of the Dubai-based fund could not be confirmed.TheHinduja group is looking to acquire Jet Airways if it is indemnified from the airline’s legal liabilities, Gopichand P. Hinduja, co-chairman of the London-based group, had said in an interview last month.“With our good relations and contacts in the Middle East and Gulf, we took the initiative to support and help,” Hinduja had said.

After showing initial interest in Jet Airways, the Hinduja group had backed out earlier. Queries sent to Antonio Guizzetti, president of Washington-based Guizzetti and Associates, the legal adviser to Synergy Group, remained unanswered. India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) laws cap investment in a local airline by a foreign carrier at 49 per cent. Also, control of the airline should lie with Indian promoters, and a majority of board members must be Indian citizens.

Jet Airways was grounded on April 18following an acute cash crunch. On June 20, the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted Jet Airways under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Lenders to Jet Airways appointed Ashish Chhawchharia as the resolution professional for the insolvency resolution. A consortium of 26 banks led by the State Bank of India have approached NCLT to recover dues of more than ₹8,500 crores. Jet Airways has a negative net worth and accumulated losses of more than ₹13,000 crores over the past few years.

SOURCE: MINT