Hinduja group, which had earlier shown interest in Jet Airways had backed out because NCLT wasn’t giving it protection from the airline’s past problems.

Hinduja group open to acquiring Jet if indemnified from legal liabilities Report
Money Jet Crisis Monday, December 23, 2019 - 14:43
Written by  S. Mahadevan

London-based Hinduja group, which had earlier shown interest in beleaguered airline Jet Airways, is reportedly still interested. As per a Livemint report, the Group has said that it is still keen to revive Jet Airways, provided the government cleared it of the past debts of the airline and not make Hinduja responsible for the past problems of the company. This was not something the lenders or the NCLT would have agreed upon.

There were talks earlier of the group being interested in taking over the ailing Jet Airways but later it was informed the group had withdrawn its proposal.

The details now have emerged directly from Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman of the group. He has said they took interest in Jet Airways since the government and some banks had approached them to save the airline from going under and they would have done it as well. However, then they put forth their condition at the National Company Law Tribunal, which was turned down.

The Hinduja Group appears to have eyed other ventures as well in India, which were in the nature of distressed assets, but did not go ahead with any of them primarily due to the policy framework in place and the number of hurdles an acquirer of sick companies has to face. The company says it is not comfortable with these.

The Indian-origin business magnates feel India has immense potential in moving up to becoming the third largest economy in the world. However, changes in policies and practices need to be made to make it attractive for investors. In the case of acquisition of stressed assets, the Hindujas point out that the entity making the investment and reviving the sick enterprise must not be subject to harassment over the past decisions and actions of the sick unit. They must be allowed to start on a clean slate.

Even in the case of their financial services venture, IndusInd Bank, they feel they must be allowed to increase their promoter stake in the bank. The existing cap on the equity held by the promoters in banks is not found anywhere else in the world. In their opinion, the more the promoters invest in their banks, the higher will be their responsibility to ensure the financial institution is run efficiently.

The Jet Airways case in the NCLT is dragging on with one proposal from the South American company Synergy Group. Two new entities have also now shown interest is the defunct airline The airline has accumulated debts of over Rs 13,000 crore. The financial lenders numbering 26 claim they are collectively owed Rs 8,500 crore by the airline.

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