Our Bureau

Mumbai, Aug. 7

AIR-INDIA is expected to announce the financial advisor for its IPO on Monday.

The airline had in July shortlisted six merchant bankers, namely, DSP Merrill Lynch, JM Morgan Stanley, Kotak Investment Banking, SBI Capital Markets, HSBC, Enam Financial Consultants, and Citibank, for this purpose.

The IPO is expected to open by the year-end. The airline has an equity base of Rs 153.84 crore which is wholly contributed by the Government.

An official statement issued last month said Air-India's equity base had to be strengthened to finance its fleet acquisition plans pegged at Rs 30,000 crore; this figure does not include Rs 5,000 crore required for fleet acquisition, the statement said.

It is also expected to appoint a PR agency to coordinate its publicity work. According to an airline official, the agency would be responsible for managing the airline's image audit, media exposure, media monitoring, and press conferences, among others.

The company's publicity budget is currently pegged at Rs 25 crore per annum.

The allocation for publicity has dropped over the years on account of the airline's cost-cutting measures, the airline official said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 8, 2005)
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