Mining giant Vedanta Group’s chairman Anil Agarwal has pulled out of the race to invest in Jet Airways (India) Ltd, just days after showing his interest in the grounded carrier.
Agarwal’s family trust Volcan Investment had shown interest as an “exploratory move” to understand the business scenario for Jet and the aviation sector, it said in a statement. "On further evaluation and considering other priorities, we intend to not pursue this further," it added.
The development now leaves Panama-based Avantulo Group and a Russian firm as the only two companies which have shown interest in the airline, two people aware of the development told VCCircle, asking not to be named. The identity of the Russian firm couldn’t be ascertained.
The extended deadline for submitting the expressions of interest was August 10.
One of the persons said Jet’s insolvency resolution professional—Grant Thornton's Ashish Chhawchharia—and lenders are verifying the credentials of the interested buyers.
“The resolution professional will review the expressions of interest to ascertain the suitors’ eligibility. He will shortlist the names and submit it before Jet’s lenders in the next two days,” the person added.
The person also indicated that Hinduja Group and Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways, which owns 24% of Jet Airways, have not shown any interest in Jet. Both were previously said to have considered the possibility of throwing their hat in the ring.
Jet, once India’s largest airline, was grounded in April after running out of money and failing to secure funds from investors and lenders.
It was admitted for insolvency proceedings on June 20 by the Mumbai bench of National Company Law Tribunal. The carrier and its lenders have been searching for new investors ever since.
Jet Airways is facing claims of Rs 24,887 crore from various creditors including banks, suppliers and employees. In July, a group of banks sanctioned interim funding of $10 million (about Rs 69 crore) for the airline.
*This article has been modified to update information about Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal's non-interest in Jet.