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Air India disinvestment: Government likely to push out EoI shortly; ready to give up majority control

FP Staff

The government is likely to release an expression of interest (EoI) document shortly that will kick-off the disinvestment process at the troubled Air India group. The Narendra Modi regime is likely to sell a 76 percent stake in Air India, a 76 percent state in Air India Express and a 50 percent stake in cargo joint venture AISATS, according to media reports.

While a  CNBC-TV18 report said the Centre could push out the EoI document on Wednesday, The Hindu BusinessLine claims the document could be out late-Tuesday.  The bidding process is likely to end by June this year.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The EoI is expected to impose a minimum net worth condition on bidders, speculated to be Rs 5,000 crore.

It could also include a clause that will force the winning bidder to retain all Air India employees for at least one year.

Government sources said the net worth criteria could be fixed at Rs 1,000 crore. However, the government has reportedly decided to revisit that figure in order to block frivolous and dubious contenders.

The government aims to execute the divestment process of the debt-ridden Air India group in phases, and separate expressions of interest (EoIs) will be issued for each entity under the corporation.

New Delhi will kick-off the exercise with the sale of the parent airline and Air India Charters, which operates low-cost flights under the Air India Express brand.

 In June 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for the strategic divestment of Air India, which has a debt burden of over Rs 50,000 crore. The government is planning to retain a 24 percent stake in the ailing carrier.

With inputs from agencies 

Also See: Govt to privatise Air India in phases; Qatar Airways, IndiGo refute reports about a joint bid

Air India privatisation: Govt sets Rs 5,000 crore as minimum net worth criteria for bidders

Air India set to give salary hikes, promotions to pilots even as the Maharajah looks at ways to clear Rs 53,000-cr debt

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