Clearing air around the possibility injecting money in the beleaguered Jet Airways, the Hinduja Group has confirmed that the conglomerate is exploring options to pick a stake in the airline. Dheeraj G Hinduja, Chairman of commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland, which is part of Auto to healthcare conglomerate confirmed the speculations which were making rounds in the media. Earlier this week, the industry sources had reported that the Hinduja group is deliberating with various stakeholders, including Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways for a possible stake in debt-ridden Jet. In fact, the markets also hailed the development as the stock price of Jet Airways surged 14 percent in Tuesday's trade. As per the reports, the group was planning to infuse around Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1500 crore in the airline.
While announcing the quarterly results of Ashok Leyland, Dheeraj Hinduja however, clarified that the talks are in the early stage. The Hinduja group is one of the leading business houses in the country with its business in sectors like oil and chemicals, banking and finance, power. The business has a global presence with over its operations in 38 countries. But it is highly unlikely that cash strapped Jet is going to get immediate relief as the deal between Hinduja Group and Etihad Airways was reportedly going slow. Top management of both the parties met on Thursday at the Etihad headquarters in Abu Dhabi to further deliberate on the issue. The meeting also witnessed the participation of top officials from the State Bank of India (SBI), which leads the lenders' consortium.
Jet Airways is reeling under a debt of $1 billion, defaulted on payments several times and died a slow death on April 17 when all of its aircraft were grounded. The grounding of Jet Airways' aircraft resulted in the severe shortage in flight in the domestic market which prompted the government to intervene. To mitigate the crisis, the Ministry of civil aviation has allotted the slots of Jet at domestic airports to other airlines for a period of three months but the immediate shortage of aircraft is likely to remain. As per its current requirement, the airline needs at least Rs 5,950 crore to restart its operation. But Jet has seldom got any relief after it was grounded last month. Etihad only offered Rs. 1,700 crore which is not enough for Jet to take off again.