Monday, September 11, 2017

Land title cloud over Air India's asset sale plans

New Delhi: Air India has told a parliamentary committee that it is unable to meet the target under the asset monetization plan due to problems with land titles, in what may be a pointer to issues staring at the proposed subsidiary that is to house real estate and other non-core assets as part of the carrier's privatization programme.
Of the Rs 5,000 crore financial restructuring plan involving asset monetisation from 2012-13 to 2021-22, Air India has so far managed to garner only Rs 369 crore, the airline informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The Centre plans to hive off real estate and non-core assets before selling a majority stake in Air India, a decision that has been endorsed by the Union Cabinet with the modalities to be worked out by a ministerial panel headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley. The plan heralds an effort by the Modi government to initiate a major disinvestment that it has shied away from so far.
While the Comptroller and Auditor General had found major lapses in the carrier's asset monetisation programme, resulting in higher loan requirement for the company and more financial stress, the airline pointed to new issues before the PAC which examined civil aviation secretary Rajiv Chaubey and then AI chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani.
11/09/17 Rajeev Deshpande and Sidhartha/Times of India