National carrier Air India, which is preparing for privatisation, has hired investment bank SBI Capital Markets to advise it on the future course of disinvestment, PTI reported on Tuesday. The airline has also constituted five teams to work on the stake sale process.
SBI Capital Markets will prepare business plans for Air India subsidiaries, which are to be divested, according to the report. The investment bank will also obtain approvals from banks on the transfer of real estate properties and other securities belonging to the national airline. Financial companies KPMG, BNP Paribas, Rothschild India Pvt Ltd, EY, Grant Thornton, Edelweiss and ICICI Securities Ltd were all in the running for the advisory role that has now been given to SBI Capital Markets.
Air India Chairperson and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal told PTI that it was necessary to constitute five teams so that they could “work aggressively” to achieve the government’s objectives in a “time-bound manner”. The government on November 18 had said that the “disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries has commenced and the transaction adviser, legal adviser and asset valuer are in the process of being appointed”.
Air India has vast assets including airport slots, international flying rights and valuable real estate across the world. It also has a 17%-share of traffic on routes between India and international destinations, and 13% of the domestic market. However, it has a debt of over Rs 50,000 crore and is running on taxpayers’ money.