Seychelles-based fund ties up with AI staff to submit EoI for stake-buy

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on December 30, 2020

Tuesday was last day to submit EoI for the airline

A Seychelles-based fund has tied up with some Air India employees and submitted an Expression of Interest on December 14, the last date for submission of Expression of Interest (EoI) for picking up a stake in the state-owned carrier. This was clarified on Tuesday by sources close to the development. Tuesday was the last date for submission of physical copies of the EoI for Air India.

This development comes even as InterUps, a US-based equity fund, said that though it has not submitted a physical copy of the EoI it is still interested in participating in the divestment of the Maharaja.

Also read: AirIndia sale: Interups withdraws from race

A person close to the latest development of the Seychelles-based fund explained that if both the airlines (Air India was created through the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India in 2007) had been able to grow and prosper from 1953 until 2007 without any budgetary support from the government, surely there must have been visionary leadership at the top, ably supported by a capable management team and a dedicated workforce.

The person quoted above pointed out that the very fact that 219 employees of Air India, under the leadership of a Board Member, have taken the bold initiative to submit an EoI, epitomises the unique strength of the employees.

“If an investor is willing to back this venture, it’s evident that the numbers are adding up in terms of the RoI,” the person said.

Sources indicated that historically aviation assets have given a 6 to 6.5 per cent return on investment on an annualised basis globally.

Also read: Spreading wings in aviation, Tatas to hike stake in AirAsia India to 84%

Laxmi Prasad, Chairman, InterUps, said that the EoI had not been filed but not withdrawn “our interest to participate”. Interups holds over 27,000 qualified retirement asset accounts owned by US-based non-resident Indians.

“Instead of filing we have chosen to support the employees who have already filed their bid as we are offered an opinion that filing a separate bid with the same affiliation may disqualify the interested bidder and this legal fallacy will leave only one potential bidder,” he said. He added that under no circumstances would InterUps wish this to happen.

Published on December 30, 2020

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