Thursday, September 30, 2021

Air India disinvestment: Govt starts evaluation of Tata, SpiceJet founder’s bids

New Delhi: The government has begun evaluation of financial bids received from Tata Group and SpiceJet founder for the acquisition of Air India, sources said. With this, the privatisation process of the national flag carrier has moved to the next phase as the government looks to expeditiously conclude the deal.

The financial bids are being evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price and the bid offering the highest price above that benchmark would be accepted.

If successful, this will mark the return of Air India to Tata fold after 67 years.

The Tata Group founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932. The government nationalised the airline in 1953.

Tatas operated a premier full-service carrier, Vistara, in partnership with Singapore Airlines. It wasn't immediately known if the group put in the bid on its own or through budget carrier AirAsia India.

Singapore Airlines was said to be not keen on participating in the privatisation programme as it would only add to Vistara's and its own financial troubles.

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 Private Ltd.

The stake sale process, which begun in January 2020, faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, the government asked potential bidders to put in financial bids. The last day for placing financial bids was September 15.

29/09/21 PTI/ZeeNews

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