Thursday, June 01, 2017

Finding a 'bakra' for Air India may not be easy: Aviation Minister

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley and Niti Aayog may be in favour of disinvesting in loss-ridden Air India, but finding a "bakra", or a strategic investor, may not be easy, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Wednesday.
"There are hardly any bakras around, so to get one is difficult and businessmen are businessmen. There are limitations. One thing is for sure, the taxpayer's money cannot be committed for eternity. So, that is one problem. Failures are there on the financial front, so, there are problems and these will be attended to," he told a TV channel.
Raju's plain talk came when a TV channel asked him to comment on Niti Aayog's suggestion that half of AI's total debt of 52,000 crore be written off, making it attractive enough to find a buyer. Gajapathi Raju has always maintained that AI's financials are bad and who will buy it in the current form. Another top aviation ministry source said AI's divestment is going to be a challenge. "There are very big issues that need to be addressed like how to arrive at the correct valuation and how will the transaction take place?" the source said.
01/06/17 Times of India

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