The UK-based Hinduja Group is reportedly preparing a bid to buy grounded carrier Jet Airways India Ltd. The group, run by brothers Gopichand Hinduja and Ashok Hinduja, is likely to submit an expression of interest by 15 January.
“The group plans to make a formal offer. Hinduja is seeking a partner to bid", a source close to the development said.
The airline was once India’s largest private carrier by market value. It, however, could not sustain the competition inflicted by budget carriers. With the company’s debt becoming untenable, and the company being hit by an acute cash crunch, it decided in April this year to suspend all operations.
Earlier this year, Hinduja Group wanted to bid for Jet Airways in partnership with Etihad. The latter, however, discarded the proposal.
India’s national carrier Air India is also struggling to find a suitor. The Indian government has said that there is no other option than privatising the country's national airline.
Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday, “I had said earlier also, for us it is not an option. Air India has to be privatised".
The airline has a massive debt, which has made operations untenable. The government may issue bids for sale after the first week of January.