Friday, February 16, 2018

Air India's unpaid bills likely to raise its debt figure

Divestment-bound Air India's unpaid fuel bills and airport charges are likely to raise its debt figure from the current estimate of around Rs 50,000 crore, according to a senior government official.

The government is expected to invite expression of interest (EoI) from bidders for Air India this month.

"While there is clarity on Air India's borrowings from financial institutions, its unpaid fuel bills and airport charges are likely to raise its liabilities," said an aviation ministry official.

He added the total liabilities could exceed the official estimate of approximately Rs 50,000 crore as it did not include outstanding bills.
The national carrier had a debt of Rs 51,890 crore as on September 30 last year as per provisional figures.

Of the total debt, the aircraft loans accounted for Rs 18,364 crore and the working capital loans Rs 33,526 crore.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju was quoted in an interview last month as saying that a debt figure of Rs 70,000 crores would not be surprising.

"When our exercise of calculating Air India's debt began, we found that the sum was hovering around the Rs 50,000 crore mark. But I won't be surprised if the total debt reaches Rs 70,000 crore. Since people are looking at the books carefully, they may find more," he was quoted in a media report.
15/02/18 PTI/