Sunday, May 05, 2019

State places highest bid of Rs 1,400 cr for AI building

The iconic building at Nariman Point was put up for sale last year as part of asset-monetisation plans If things go in its favour, the state government may take over the loss-making Air India’s iconic eponymous building at Nariman Point.
It has bid Rs 1,400 crore for the 23-storey property, the national carrier’s erstwhile headquarters that was put up for sale last year. The offer, however, is Rs 200 crore less than the building’s reserve price. The airline has a debt of Rs 50,000 crore and proceeds from the sale will go towards paying it off. It had recently asked for a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package from the finance ministry, which was rejected.
 The state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Life Insurance Corporation have also bid Rs 1,375 crore and Rs 1,200 crore, respectively, for the building, said Air India sources. The cash-rich JNPT was asked by Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari to join the fray after the Centre proposed last year that ownership of the building be transferred to a government-run organisation. JNPT chief Sanjay Sethi and LIC chairman MR Kumar refused to comment on the bids process.
 At a meeting at Mantralaya on May 1, UPS Madan, the state chief secretary, made the offer before Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Kharola and Air India’s Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, as well as placed the government’s terms and conditions for the sale.
The state government wants the entire building to be vacated before occupying it. The state plans to consolidate its offices scattered across the city and operate them from the Air India building.
06/05/19 Yogesh Malik/Mumbai Mirror
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