Will UAE-based investor Murari Lal Jalan be a saviour for India's grounded Jet Airways?

Man behind M J Developers is part of a consortium understood to be favoured to take over troubled Indian airline

A consortium comprising UAE-based investor Murari Lal Jalan, known mainly for his company M J Developers, and London-based asset management company Kalrock Capital, is understood to be favoured to take over India’s grounded Jet Airways by the airline’s creditors.

Airline industry sources said so far the indications point to a majority among the State Bank of India (SBI)-led Committee of Creditors (CoC) to Jet Airways favouring the revival proposal submitted by the Jalan-Kalrock Capital consortium.

But on Thursday, the resolution professional appointed for Jet Airways said that the CoC has not concluded the e-voting process, adding that “appropriate disclosures” would only be made after the voting process has been concluded. Sources say the e-voting may continue until October 16

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When contacted, Igor Starha, managing partner of Kalrock Capital, told Arabian Business in an email reply: “We do not comment on any rumours or speculations and have no comments to make on the ongoing resolution process of Jet Airways.”

Starha added that neither Kalrock Capital nor the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium has given a statement to any publication on the ongoing resolution process of Jet Airways.

Starha’s comment comes in the wake of Indian financial daily Economic Times quoting Starha as saying that his consortium had been chosen in a report carried on Thursday.

The ET report also quoted Starha as saying that “the formal takeover process will begin now and that the conglomerate plans to operate Jet as an Indian carrier. Apart from the flying license, it will get six Boeing 777 aircraft”.

Arabian Business has contacted SBI for its comments while Murari Lal Jain could not be contacted immediately.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways, which has been grounded since April 2019.

Murari Lal Jalan, chairman of M J Developers

Another consortium comprising Abu Dhabi’s Imperial Capital Investments, Haryana-based Flight Simulation Technique Centre and Mumbai’s Big Charter was also in the final race for takeover of Jet Airways.

Some aviation industry analysts, however, were cynical about the viability of revival of Jet Airways.

“Given the dramatic battering of aviation the world over, coupled with quarantine restrictions, reviving Jet Airways, in any form, let alone using 6 777-300ER’s borders on suicidal,” Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at the London-based StrategicAero Research, told Arabian Business.

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“Where do they expect passengers will come from,” he asked.

“Quite frankly, the money spent on trying to revive this defunct airline is better off saved in a bank,” he added.

An eminent figure in the UAE business fraternity and known for his brand M J Developers, Jalan has investments in diverse sectors like real estate, mining, trading, construction, FMCG, dairy, travel and tourism and industrial works globally.

He has investments in the UAE, India, Russia and Uzbekistan among others.

Kalrock’s website described it as a global firm operating in financial advisory and alternative asset management, managing significant partners’ assets, mainly in real estate, venture capital and “special situations”.

Jet, India’s oldest private carrier, stopped operations in April last year due to a cash crunch and piling debt and was dragged to India’s bankruptcy court in June, by its lenders, to whom it owed more than $1.1 billion.

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