Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Tatas, Interups Among "Multiple" Bidders for Air India

New Delhi: Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group and US-based fund Interups Inc. were among “multiple” entities that put in preliminary bids for buying loss-making carrier Air India, on Monday.

A group of 219 Air India employees submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the carrier, in partnership with Interups at the close of the deadline on Monday.

“Multiple expressions of interest have been received for strategic disinvestment of Air India. The Transaction will now move to the second stage,” Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted.

He, however, did not reveal either the identity of the bidders or the number of bids received for buying the national carrier.

Sources said, Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, has put in an EoI and so did Interups, whose chairman Laxmi Prasad had in the run-up to the disinvestment clarified his intentions of bidding for Air India.

It was not, however, immediately clear if the Tata Group has bid alone or through its budget airline AirAsia India.

A group of 219 Air India Ltd. employees, each person contributing at least Rs 1 lakh, hold 51% share in the bidding consortium. The remaining 49% is with Interups.

An official said that the transaction advisor will inform bidders if their bids have been qualified, before January 6.

Qualified bidders will then be asked to submit financial bids.

The government is selling its entire 100% stake in Air India, a company that has been in losses ever since its 2007 merger with domestic operator Indian Airlines.

The airline, which started as a mail carrier in 1932, will give a successful bidder control of 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at airports overseas.

Besides, the bidder would also get 100% of low-cost arm Air India Express and 50% of AISATS, which provides cargo and ground handling services at major Indian airports.

15/12/20 PTI/Wire

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