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Lulu Group promoter Yusuff Ali says will not invest in Jet Airways "at this juncture"

Lulu Group promoter Yusuff Ali says will not invest in Jet Airways "at this juncture"
NRI businessman Yusuff Ali, the promoter of the multi-billion dollar Lulu Group, said he has no plans to buy a stake in the cash-strapped Jet Airways now, reasoning that aviation is not his core business, but left open the possibility of an investment later.
“At this juncture, we have not decided to invest in any airlines in India,” he told CNBC-TV18, in what is his first official remarks to the media on a potential Jet stake purchase.
According to Ali, he will continue to focus and expand his mainstay business. “I want to invest and concentrate on my core business which is shopping malls, hyper malls and hospitality,” Ali said on the sidelines of an event to inaugurate India’s newest greenfield international airport at Kannur in Kerala.
Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad has a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways. ​
Given that Lulu is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and Ali is close to the establishment in that emirate, speculation has been rife that he will play a starring role in a Jet-Etihad deal.
The speculation has also been fuelled by Ali’s aviation interest despite his statement to the contrary.
Ali has invested in two international airports — Kochi and Kannur — in Kerala, his home state. Ali was previously a board director at government-run Air India.
When asked if he was approached by Jet to facilitate talks with other prominent Gulf-based investors, Ali said “Jet Airways has access to Etihad and other investors.”
Lulu Group is well known for its chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Gulf and runs operations in 31 countries. The group reported a turnover of more than $5 billion last year.
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