Air India sale: Tata Sons, Ajay Singh invited to submit financial bids

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2021

Interested players given access to data room; bidding process to end by Sept

Tata group and Ajay Singh, the promoter of SpiceJet, have been invited to place a financial bid for Air India once they complete their review of the airline’s data room.

“The access to data room has been given to interested players and once that process is over they will be asked to submit financial bids,” said a top official adding “The entire process is expected to be completed by September” .

The government plans to sell 100 per cent of its equity share capital in the state-owned airline, including Air India’s shareholding interest of 100 per cent in AI Express Ltd (AIXL) and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AI SATS).

Tata Sons is the only entity that has confirmed its participation in AI’s bidding process. The promoter of SpiceJet is said to be in the reckoning, but he has not confirmed this officially. “Now that the government will ask for financial bids, it will be clear if Singh is serious about taking ownership of Air India or not. If he doesn't submit a bid then Tatas will have a clear path provided their proposal is acceptable to the government,” said an industry expert.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had recently said that the government will invite financial bids for the airline soon.

“There is no choice, we either privatise or we close the airline. We run a loss of ₹20 crore every day despite Air India making money now. Because the mismanagement has resulted in a cumulative debt of ₹60,000 crore,” Puri had said in March.

Published on April 13, 2021

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