Thursday, October 29, 2020

Govt likely to extend Air India bid deadline to December 14; investors to get flexibility on debt

New Delhi: The government is likely to extend the deadline to bid for Air India till December 14 and also give flexibility to a potential investor to decide on the humongous debt with the national carrier, a source said. The deadline to bid for buying out Air India ends on October 30. The flexibility to potential investors on the quantum of the Rs 60,074 crore debt that they want to absorb will replace the current condition of the buyer taking over more than a third of the debt and transferring the rest to a special purpose vehicle.

The source said the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has cleared the extension of the deadline to December 14 to give time to potential investors to raise queries on the changes being made in the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM).  As per the Air India EoI floated by DIPAM in January, of the airline's total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore, while the rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle.

The government is seeking to sell 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India's 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey had said that potential investors in Air India have given feedback that due to the uncertainty created by COVID-19 in the aviation sector, the debt should not be fixed at the Expression of Interest (EoI) stage.

29/10/20 PTI/

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